Banking set for Asian jobs boom

Julian Harris
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CITY workers are looking towards the Far East for the fastest expanding job opportunities, a survey from a top headhunting firm out today reveals.

Almost three quarters of banking or hedge fund staff named eastern Asian cities as the leading job-creators for financial services, according to recruiters Astbury Marsden.

Singapore will create the most financial services jobs in the next year, according to more than one in three (37 per cent) respondents.

The news coincides with HSBC’s decision to boost its headcount in China and Singapore by 2,000 in the next five years. The finding also comes at a time when record numbers of Londoners are looking East for work and career progression.

“Cities close to emerging markets are at the forefront of the global expansion in financial services,” said Astbury Marsden CEO Mark Cameron.

As well as Singapore, City workers named Shanghai (19 per cent) and Hong Kong (17 per cent) as booming areas for financial services. Fewer than a quarter (22 per cent) expect London to lead the way for new jobs. Just one per cent named New York.

The news chimes with evidence from recruitment firm Hays and its research partners Oxford Economics. Highly skilled westerners will increasingly migrate to emerging economies in the east, they forecast.

“I foresee a lot of people in the west moving to places like China, where they’ll be very welcome,” economist Jens Tholstrup said. “Whereas in wealthy countries, we put the shutters down on migration.”

Demand for financial services will soar as emerging economies develop at a rapid pace, Oxford Economics, a consultancy, is predicting.

Singapore ranks 28th in the world for competitive personal tax levels, with a 20 per cent top rate. The UK now ranks 83rd out of 86 countries surveyed by consultants KPMG.

“Where companies are operating in more than one country both business and personal taxation become more important, with the importance of personal taxation increasing steadily with the number of countries involved,” a Deloitte survey found last year. “Relatively high levels of business and personal taxation have resulted in a significant perceived decrease in [the UK’s] attractiveness over the past 10 years.”

Corporation tax in Singapore was reduced to 17 per cent two years ago.