Demand booms for high-end financial talent in China

The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) was formally established on Dec 25 after it garnered enough countries' domestic approval.
PHOTO: China Daily

High-end jobs are flourishing with the launch of China-initiated new financial institutions, and an imminent change in share-listing rules in the domestic market.

Industry experts say this is just part of the booming demand among Chinese companies for global managerial talent in their overseas expansion and business transition.

The recruitment wave is being led by the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, an intergovernmental regional development investment service that was formally established last week.

The AIIB posted five job vacancies on its English-language website six days before its official establishment on Dec 25, and 33 other vacancies in the following days.

The Silk Road Fund, a development financial institution funded solely by China, has advertised 10 positions on its website since Dec 10.

A Web survey conducted by found that recruitment of high-end financial service managers has risen throughout the year. The first three quarters saw a double-digit rise in many coastal areas, ranging from Shanghai to Shenzhen.

Applications have closed for director-general-level positions, vice-presidents, chief financial, investment and administrative officers at the AIIB. The Ministry of Finance has said that recruitment is continuing and more posts will become available.

Interest for the top-level jobs has been high. Professionals in China's banking sector had been inquiring among themselves about how to submit their CVs to the bank's Multilateral Interim Secretariat, which at that time had not started open hiring.

Jin Liqun, secretary-general of the secretariat and president-designate of the AIIB, told Xinhua News Agency that the bank will hire employees transparently. They must have good work ethics, outstanding professional expertise and strong commitment.

"There will be no lifelong positions here. All employees will have a one-year probation period," Jin said.

A manager at a Chinese securities brokerage, who applied for an AIIB position and requested anonymity, said experience with such a bank would be a career highlight.

"I just feel the bar is high and competition will be fierce," he said.

Nicholas Zhu, vice-president of Moody's Investors Service, who served as a debt reduction specialist with World Bank Africa, said the most important qualification for a multilateral development bank is an international perspective and the ability to think locally.

"It's not just about intention, but mostly about the ability to think from a specific country's viewpoint. What fits the World Bank's vision might not fit local demand. You spend lots of energy in coordinating various stakeholders," he said.

Meanwhile, the Shanghai and Shenzhen stock exchanges have completed the latest round of recruitment as the government strives to make the issuance of shares and bonds easier for domestic companies amid the economic slowdown.

The two bourses are preparing for the launch of the much-anticipated registration-based initial public offering system and expansion of the corporate bond market next year.

Recruitment at the Shanghai Stock Exchange has been completed, with at least 150 new positions filled.

Most of the new employees have worked at investment banks, law firms and accounting agencies, a source close to the exchange said.

The Human Resources Department at the China Securities Regulatory Commission has also been encouraging its officials to apply for jobs at the stock exchanges, as the regulator will delegate its IPO approval power to the bourses under the new IPO system, the source said.

Shenzhen is looking at the abundant supply of human resources from neighbouring Hong Kong.

At a financial services forum earlier this year, Xiao Zhijun, an official with the municipal financial regulatory body, said that although financial services contribute 15 per cent to the city's GDP, the industry sustains no more than 200,000 jobs. A lack of talent has created a "many-sided problem" for Shenzhen to develop its financial services industry.

A municipal human resources administration official said the city can only provide 35 per cent of all the professionals for its financial services industry.

Job demands

Basic requirements for most AIIB positions:

・ Multiple years of experience with multilateral development banks, investment banks, private equity or other financial institutions;

・ Extensive knowledge of projects in specific sectors;

・ Master's degree and a strong capability in written and spoken English.