Hey Bankers! They Want You In Shanghai


Photo: Jakob Montrasio on flickr

China wants to turn Shanghai into a financial centre that could rival New York, Singapore, Hong Kong and London by 2020. There’s just one small problem.Via China Daily:

Foreign banks and local securities companies are scurrying to find workers with the right skills and experience. Even Tu Guangshao, Shanghai’s vice-mayor in charge of finance services, says the greatest inhibitor to the city’s bid to be a world financial centre is the lack of professionals.

In April, 56% of Shanghai companies surveyed by eFinancialCareers.com said that they were looking to expand. Of those, 95% said they were hampered by the lack of talent in town.

In anotherĀ eFinancialCareers.com survey of financial professionals working in Shanghai, 77% said they were happy with their jobs but looking for other opportunities. 13% said they hated their jobs.

“As the financial services sector in China is constantly challenged by changes, organisations are looking out for middle- to senior-level professionals who possess high levels of initiative and the ability to build long-term relationships with clients as well as autonomously sell products and services that are targeted to individual client needs,” Mark Hall, a manager at Kelly Services China, told China Daily.

While some company heads perfer local talent, most think that if Shanghai is going to become a global player, it needs professionals with a global perspective. Even state-owned banks like Bank of China Ltd. and Commercial Bank of China are looking for foreigners with experience.

Part of the problem lies with brain drain. China’s business schools are rushing to catch up with Western programs, but they’re not there yet. When students go abroad to study, they often end up staying there.

But then again, this means that Shanghai promises opportunity for young people looking to move to management positions quickly.

“Quite a few department heads and fund managers are in their early 30s. We would not be in management positions this quickly had we worked in New York or Hong Kong, where there are much more experienced financial professionals,” said Zhang Tianxiang, a mainland native who returned home after working in Australia.

Downside: income tax in Shanhai can be as high as 45%. Not attractive.

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