The difference between the first half of the year and the revival during the second half has generated momentum in the banking and finance sector and, with it, an upswing in recruitment activity. However, what effect is hiring activity having on salary levels in the notoriously tight talent pool market? Emma Charnock, regional director of Hays in Hong Kong and the mainland, said the most competitive salaries were being paid to those working in the global market. 'The hiring spree is having little impact on salaries at this stage. This said, if the market continues to improve we should see a small overall uplift over the coming months. So, for the moment, it is still an employer's market,' Charnock said. Low salary base, high commission remains standard for those involved with investment product sales. Meanwhile, some companies may offer other non-monetary incentives to encourage better customer service.
A report last month, sponsored by Hays, found that banks in Asia were relying more on performance incentives than paying their top people high salaries. The report found that while the compensation of Asian bank chief executives and their equivalents had dipped since the last time the survey was conducted in 2007, banks were increasing their reliance on performance-based pay. According to Hays, next year will be about alignment of top remuneration with business objectives and balancing sustainable growth with short-term risk mitigation.
James Mendes, managing director for Asia-Pacific with recruitment specialist Alexander Mann Solutions, said: 'A lack of available talent and a gap between supply and demand in specific areas is having an impact in driving up expectations and salary levels. Many of the skill set gaps will not be addressed in the short term. It has definitely turned to an employees market particularly in niche skill set areas.
'If you want a rainmaker, you need to pay top dollar. People are moving for large salary increases, often as high as a 30 per cent.'