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Hong Kong Cuts Banking Jobs for Expats
Published on: 2019-07-23
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030For years, Hong Kong was a hotspot with plum jobs for overseas bankers as global firms hired aggressively. But many recently laid-off bankers in the city are finding that cost-cutting and a demand for Mandarin speakers have diminished the opportunities for expats in Asia’s financial hub.

After Deutsche Bank AG announced plans for wide-ranging cuts this week, many employees worldwide are facing the challenge of job-hunting in a shrinking market. For foreign staff losing positions in Hong Kong, it could be harder than most.

033Other international firms such as Nomura Holdings Inc. have also cut jobs in Hong Kong. At the same time, the city’s famously expensive living costs, including some of the world’s highest rents, mean that even senior bankers need to find new jobs fast in order to stay.

The upshot Expat bankers who lost their jobs and want to remain in Hong Kong often have to consider lower-paying options or demotions. Some with longer-running ties to the city are looking at switching careers, weighing everything from consulting to cryptocurrency outfits.

032During the global financial crisis of 2008, Asian banks and local Chinese firms hired those who had been laid off by foreign players, said Will Glover, Hong Kong-based managing director for recruitment firm Macdonald & Co. That’s less likely this year and some of those taking on new jobs may have to take pay cuts, he said.

031While global banks are ramping up their focus on China, more of them are looking for people with language skills and networks on the Chinese mainland. That could help Deutsche Bank staff from around the world who are Chinese citizens, and who have been sending resumes seeking jobs back home or at Chinese banks. But for Westerners in Hong Kong, the prospects look tougher.

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