Career Advice Job Market Trend Report

Employers' market

PAY NOW: Commercial and Investment Banking

"In investment banking, pay is generally equal across bulge-bracket and top-tier banks. The same is true across less established houses, corporate institutions and commercial banks, although salaries could be 30 to 40 per cent lower than their more illustrious counterparts. For example, an M&A analyst or associate in a bulge-bracket American bank would be on the same compensation package as a European competitor.

“Benefits do differ ever so slightly among the top-ranked firms, with similar housing, cash, and pension schemes being paid. But these benefits tend not to exist in the smaller boutique, securities, and commercial banks in Hong Kong, where staff get a monthly salary. This, in turn, keeps the cost to the company down, and against the backdrop of a tough economic climate, would alleviate the need to reduce the number of headcount in the organisation.

“There is a general perception that gone are the days of bankers receiving bonuses similar to those of 2006 to 2007. Banks have started to offer local contracts to new recruits, and as they may pick from an ever-increasing candidate pool, they have more leverage in offering lower base salaries. For individuals who have been made redundant in the past two years, they are aware that work experience is ever so important, and thus more willing to decrease their initial expectations on both compensation and benefits.”

Nick Lambe, Hong Kong Managing Director, Morgan McKinley