Asia's Hiring Hotspots
Asian cities took four out of the top ten spots in the most recent release of the Global Financial Centers Index (GFCI).
Asian cities took four out of the top ten spots in the most recent release of the Global Financial Centers Index (GFCI). The GFCI is a ranking of the competitiveness of financial centres based on 26,629 financial centres assessments from an online questionnaire together with over 60 indices. It is compiled by Z/Yen Group and published twice a year by the City of London corporation. The ranking is an aggregate of indices from five key areas - people, business environment, market access, infrastructure and general competitiveness. The people index summarises the availability of a skilled workforce, the flexibility of the labour market, the quality of the business education and the skillset of the workforce. The business environment aggregates and values the regulation, tax rates, levels of corruption, economic freedom and how difficult in general it is to do business. The market access index looks at the various equities and bonds available, and the volume and value of trading. The infrastructure index furthermost accounts to the price of real estate at the location, and other factors such as public transport have a minor impact. General competitiveness relies on more traditional economic factors such as price level, quality of life and economic sentiment.
The Four Asian cities (Hong Kong, Singapore, Tokyo & Shanghai), were counted among the world's top ten financial centers for the first time ever in this ranking, is a result of the widespread and accelerated expansion of banking services and commensurate hiring in the Asia-Pacific region as wealth continues to grow in Asia. In September, Citigroup announced its plans to hire 7,500 in China, doubling the number of its branches in Hong Kong to 50 in order to compete with Standard Chartered and HSBC, both of which announced plans this summer to hire hundreds across Asia. Jefferies & Co. kickstarted its Asia equities operations in Hong Kong, with plans to build a bigger team in the region. Investments and finance job opportunities in the region have also risen exponentially in the last decade. China accounts for roughly 7.9% of the world's economic activity (according to World Bank data), and its GDP grew by 11.9% in the first quarter this year as compared to last year.
Hong Kong (GFCI ranking: 3)
Hong Kong's ever-increasing cachet as a global financial hub alongside London and New York has made it a prime spot for job growth. Almost three quarters of the world's 100 largest banks have major offices there and more than a thousand companies trade on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, the region's second largest after the Tokyo Stock Exchange. Wealth management and branch banking are some of its fast growing areas, say recruiters, with tightening regulation also increasing the focus on risk management.
Singapore (GFCI ranking: 4)
Prime finance and consumer banking have grown in the city-state as GDP exploded by almost 18% in the first half of 2010, and home ownership stood at nearly 89% by end of 2009, according to Singapore government statistics. Almost 800 companies are listed on the Singapore Stock Exchange. Citigroup announced plans earlier this year to bulk up its futures unit in the country, competing with Bank of America and RBS, which have also been vying for a stake in Asian markets, hiring for everything from sales to accounting positions.
Tokyo (GFCI ranking: 5)
Where many of its Asian neighbors have bounced out of the crisis and ramped up growth and hiring activity, Japan is still in recovery mode. But Japan is still an Asian powerhouse. Firms like Mizuho Financial Group Inc., one of Japan's financial services giants, are still continuing to hire and expand as they attempt to stanch their losses connected to investments in U.S. subprime mortgages. Mizuho Corporate, its investment banking arm, announced plans last month to hire 150 bankers in Asia in risk management and marketing. Trading operations in Japan are also expansive as the Tokyo Stock Exchange is the second largest in the world after the New York Stock Exchange with over 2,000 companies listed.
Shanghai (GFCI ranking: 6)
As an emerging market, Shanghai joined the ranks of its more established counterparts in Asia only recently, making it into the top 10 in the GFCI for the first time. The Shanghai stock exchange lists almost 900 companies and is among the world's ten largest stock markets. Recruiters report that hiring is aggressive in Shanghai, with vacancies sprouting at HSBC, Citibank, Standard Chartered and Australian investment banking giant ANZ. Recruiters say branch banking and trade finance are the areas in which there is most hiring potential, with foreign talent being sought after to offset the relative inexperience of local talent in a developing market.
Kuala Lumpur (GFCI ranking 48)
Despite the Malaysian capital's comparatively lackluster ranking, the rise of Islamic banking has created a growing need for talent in the city. In total, Islamic banking has grown by 15% in the last decade and IMF projections forecast a growth to $1 trillion by 2016. The Bursa Malaysia Berhad, Malaysia's stock exchange headquartered in KL, lists more than 800 companies.
Current GFCI ranking as compiled by Z/Yen Group
1. London , UK
2. New York, US
3. Hong Kong
5. Tokyo, Japan
6. Shanghai, China
7. Chicago, US
8. Zurich, Switzerland
9. Geneva, Switzerland
10. Sydney, Australia
11. Frankfurt, Germany
12. Toronto, Canada
13. Boston, US
14 = ShenZhen, China (tied at 14th)
14 = San Francisco, US (tied at 14th)
16. BeiJing, China
17. Washington, US
18. Paris, France
19. Taipei, Taiwan