Advice to bankers in Asia: If your job is under threat, try the big four

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Bankers aren’t getting much love from their employers these days. A number have already borne the brunt of redundancies in Asia and even more bloodshed is anticipated.

Interestingly enough, there’s demand for their talent in at least one non-banking sector – management consulting in the big four accounting firms.

Mark O'Reilly, managing director, Asia Pacific, Astbury Marsden, says: “There has been high demand for management consultants as banks engage the big four to make sure that they meet regulatory standards; there’s definitely hiring appetite for bankers into these roles.”

Traders, pricing professionals, and investment bankers with strong knowledge of regulatory and compliance issues, are all sought after.

Only bankers please

O'Reilly has seen a number of requests from firms who specifically want to hire banking professionals. And there is greater openness among financial employees to make the switch. “The big four offer defined career progression and if you can get to partner level; it’s definitely a good earning profile.”

That said, those that make the switch may have to take a 10 to 15 per cent pay cut. “Candidates need to look at the big picture; such a career move isn’t just about short-term financial gain.”

Stability is sexy for the disillusioned

There are other benefits to making the switch. Chief among them: stability. “It’s a corporate environment that is perceived as being more secure than banking. It’s also really tough in investment banking right now, especially since firms are under heavy scrutiny from regulators, shareholders and governments.”

Moreover, working for the big four isn’t perceived to be too much of a culture shock – candidates from both sectors tend to share similarly strong academics and social backgrounds, adds O'Reilly.

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