Job survey

Asian finance professionals want promotion

A lack of clear career progress, not just filthy lucre, is driving Asia's bankers to seek new horizons, according to the latest eFinancialCareers survey.
George McFerran, eFinancialCareers
George McFerran, eFinancialCareers

Poor prospects for career progression are driving financial professionals in Asia to look for jobs elsewhere, according to the latest survey by eFinancialCareers. This motivation trumps a short-term desire for higher compensation, while in Singapore a better work-life balance is also important.

Perhaps surprisingly, the jobs website found that only two-thirds (66%) of its 2,400 respondents in Hong Kong, China, Singapore and Australia actually plan to jump ship this year, reflecting tougher times in the regional job market. eFinancialCareers targets professionals working in the investment banking, asset management and securities industries.

Nevertheless, “finance professionals in Hong Kong and China are strongly positioned to bounce-back from the economic slowdown and are keen to explore new opportunities that will advance their careers in the long term,” said George McFerran, managing director, Asia-Pacific, eFinancialCareers.

Contrary to the popular view that compensation is the main reason why finance and banking professionals switch employers, a perceived lack of career progression at their current employer is the main motivator. This was followed by the perception of higher compensation elsewhere, and then frustration with the lack of recognition for accomplishments.

When seeking a new position, 63% surveyed in Hong Kong and China said they were looking for a minimum compensation increase in the range of 10%-29% before accepting an offer.

Yet, promotion, followed closely by a defined career progression, would help them change their mind and stay with their current employers.

 “Talent retention will not be a bidding war as employees are looking for a well mapped out career path that will put them in a stronger place when the market starts to look up,” said McFerran.

The least important reason was fear of imminent redundancies, indicating a confidence in their roles and the value that they bring to their employers. 

Also critical when considering a new role are healthcare and flexible working arrangements that improve an employee’s quality of life, especially in Singapore. In the city-state, the top two non-monetary temptations to move were flexible working hours and onsite childcare — as well as perks such as gym membership.

“The message to employers is loud and clear, defined career progression is absolutely critical to finance professionals and our survey clearly demonstrates that it is the key driver of their employment plans for 2012. Consequently, organisations who are able to offer this, not only give themselves the best opportunity of retaining their top talent but a distinct advantage in any forthcoming recruitment activities.” said McFerran.

“Non-monetary benefits, in particular flexible working hours and childcare, also figure very prominently in the plans of those finance professionals looking to move in 2012, a clear sign that the industry must continue to evolve as its workforce moves further away from the traditional stereotype,” he added.

The eFinancialCareers 2012 Retention survey was conducted in February and March 2012. The firm operates a global career site network for professionals working in the investment banking, asset management and securities industries across North America, Europe, the Middle East and Asia-Pacific.

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