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Expats eased out as hiring spree continues

The year may be drawing to an end, but recruiters say there's no let-up in investment banks' appetite for hiring people in Asia. Local staff are top of the menu.

"The banks are still hiring at full speed. This is amazing, as they will be paying these guys full-year bonuses for a couple of months' work," says one.

Country and sector specialists are both in demand - India, Korea and China being the hot countries and equity capital market, derivatives, real estate and financials the hot sectors.

"The talent pool is so small for these positions. And with notice periods getting longer - three months is almost the norm now - banks are now having to hire throughout the year, instead of just after Christmas," notes another.

The trend shows that head office is ready to splurge out a great deal of investment dollars on the right staff, he adds.

The departure of Bill Wicker from the top spot at Goldman Gaohua in Beijing earlier this month, along with COO Joe Stevens, who reportedly left because he did not take over from Wicker, has also raised the question of prospects for foreign (non-local) staff.

Goldman Gaohua is now run by Singaporean Richard Ong, over from the Goldman office in Singapore. There are no longer any Westerners in senior positions at the Goldman Gaohua JV in China.

"This reflects the fact that companies are looking for sustainable business. They don't want crews of expats coming over for two years and then leaving. They want people who are from the region, or Westerners who have a very good reason for being here, for example they have married a local," says a headhunter.

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