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HSBC revives Hong Kong hiring following its freeze

HSBC’s Hong Kong hiring has returned to levels not seen since the onset of Covid-19 about a year ago.

During the middle period of last year, there were consistently fewer than 100 Hong Kong roles on the bank’s careers website. That followed a hiring freeze imposed on 26 March in response to the pandemic, which reduced HSBC’s hiring to a “small number of frontline and business-critical roles”. Now HSBC, including its Hang Seng subsidiary, has 226 full-time local vacancies available.

HSBC chairman Mark Tucker said yesterday that the bank will speed up its plan, first announced 11 months ago, to expand in Asia. “Economic realities mean that what we were planning to do in February we need to be even more urgent in doing,” he told the virtual Asian Financial Forum. HSBC will be “bringing forward investment and building more capabilities” in 2021 and will tap “substantial opportunities” in China’s Greater Bay Area, which includes Hong Kong.

One HSBC Hong Kong insider told us that there will be more jobs opening up in his team this year than last year. “I expect HSBC’s 2021 recruitment to be almost on par with 2019 as Asian economies start to recover,” adds a Hong Kong-based headhunter with knowledge of the bank.  

No one job function dominates as HSBC revives its recruitment in its largest market for revenue. Technology and digital roles account for around 15% of the hiring, however. The firm is looking for a chief architect, Asia Pacific, and a blockchain development specialist, for example.

HSBC’s Hong Kong hiring rates reflect the importance of its Asian business. At HSBC’s third quarter results presentation in late October, CEO Noel Quinn confirmed that the bank would be investing in Asia even as it makes 35,000 job cuts, primarily to less profitable Western businesses. Asian transaction banking, in particular trade finance, is central to Quinn’s plans to “reboot” revenue at the bank.

HSBC is also expanding regionally in sectors such as wealth management and insurance. In Hong Kong, it has 28 jobs in insurance and nine in wealth. Risk and compliance recruitment remains comparatively strong, with 13 positions on offer.

By contrast, there are few front-office roles available in investment banking, corporate banking and private banking at HSBC in Hong Kong. As at other banks, however, front-office hiring should pick up after Chinese New Year when more people receive bonuses, triggering movement in the job market. HSBC plans to recruit 500 private banking and wealth management staff across Asia by 2022, including an undisclosed but significant number of Hong Kong-based private bankers.

Image: unsplash

Have a confidential story, tip, or comment you’d like to share? Email: or Telegram: @simonmortlock. You can also follow me on LinkedIn.

AUTHORSimon Mortlock Content Manager

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