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ECONOMY | Tony Chua, Hong Kong
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Finance professionals' optimism reflects positive market outlook

Only 23% of Hong Kong finance professionals consider company’s policy and values on ethical issues when changing jobs.

According to eFinancialCareers’ Finance Careers Survey, 47% of Hong Kong finance professionals claim that it is easy for them to find a new job in the current climate, indicating a positive market outlook. Finance professionals in Hong Kong are also optimistic about their salary and bonus packages with 46% expecting an increase in 2010.

The eFinancialCareers’ Finance Careers Survey, conducted between June and July 2010, was a global survey which examined current trends in the financial services industry across ten markets in Europe, Asia-Pacific, and the Middle East. Hong Kong, China, and Singapore were among the countries surveyed in the Asia Pacific region.

According to the survey, finance professionals in China are the most optimistic about job prospects out of all countries surveyed, with 57% of respondents believing that it would be easy for them to find a job in finance and 69% of them expecting their salary and bonus packages to improve this year.

In light of economic recovery, a majority (54%) of finance professionals surveyed globally are not concerned with redundancy. With Asian economies recovering faster than expected from the global economic crisis, finance professionals in the Asia Pacific region are least concerned with redundancy compared to other geographies surveyed. Corresponding to the increase of market optimism across the region, a majority of finance professionals in Hong Kong (81%), China (82%), and Singapore (80%) are not concerned or do not feel strongly about redundancy in the current economy.

“With renewed market optimism and rising salary and bonus expectations among employees across the Asia Pacific region, the finance recruitment market is becoming more candidate-led,” commented Mr George McFerran, Head of Asia Pacific, eFinancialCareers. “Candidates who were reluctant to move during the global financial crisis are now more confident about changing jobs.”

The survey reveals that over half (56%) of finance professionals surveyed globally will consider relocating abroad for work. Out of all markets surveyed, respondents in China are most likely to move overseas for work (77%). Respondents in Singapore (62%) and Hong Kong (53%) are more reluctant than their China counterparts.

Mr McFerran added, “As the market becomes more fluid, we expect increased movement of finance professionals in Hong Kong. There are several work drivers that jobseekers will consider when applying for a new role including, salaries and packages, career advancement opportunities, and workplace condition. Out of all countries surveyed, Hong Kong finance professionals are most concerned with remuneration and benefits as they consider pay the most critical work driver (53%), followed by opportunities for promotion (41%), and work-life balance (33%).”

Other factors that finance professionals will take into account when applying for a new job include a company’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) practices. According to the survey, 88% of Hong Kong finance professionals would consider a company’s reputation in the industry, followed by its policy and values on work-life balance and employee relations (69%) and a company’s reputation in the community (41%). However, only 23% of finance professionals in Hong Kong will consider a company’s policy and values on ethical, green, and sustainability issues when changing jobs.

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