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Hong Kong’s finance sector begins 2024 with a careful tone.

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TLDR

Jobseekers and employers in Hong Kong’s financial services sector are starting 2024 cautiously due to recent layoffs, stalled deal making, and record-low stock market performance. The industry employed 269,700 people in 2022, a drop of 3% from the previous year. Candidates are concerned about job security and are seeking stability. However, certain areas, such as jobs in family offices and buy side firms, are still in high demand. The job market is expected to improve in the second half of the year.

Jobseekers and employers in Hong Kong’s financial services sector are starting 2024 on a cautious note due to recent layoffs, stalled deal making, and the stock market hitting record lows. The industry employed 269,700 people in 2022, a drop of 3% from the previous year. Both jobseekers and employers are anxiously waiting for the market to stabilize after a challenging year in order to make their next moves.

According to Robert Walters Hong Kong, caution is the main buzzword in the industry this year. Poor performance in the local markets has caused uncertainty and concern about leaving stable jobs. Equity markets in Hong Kong and mainland China have been among the worst performers globally this year, with stock gauges falling by more than 7%.

Layoffs have also been affecting the industry, with UBS Group reportedly looking to cut 90 jobs in Asia and Bank of America announcing around 20 job cuts in Asia. On the deal front, Hong Kong fell to eighth place as an IPO destination last year, while China experienced a nine-year low in terms of deal volume.

Despite these challenges, certain areas in the financial services sector are still in high demand. Buy side firms are looking for fundraising talent and are setting up high-performing investment teams due to increased interest rates. Client servicing professionals on the buy side are also sought after.

Another area of opportunity is in family offices, as the Hong Kong government is offering incentives to attract wealthy individuals to set up offices in the city. This is expected to bring in capital and create demand for yuan products. Family offices are seen as having more job security since they run their own money and are less exposed to external investment decisions.

Recruiters are cautiously optimistic about the job market in the second half of the year, hoping for improvement after a down cycle. However, the market will continue to face uncertainties and challenges in the near term.

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