Japan’s banking industry needs top talent


Japan’s banking sector is showing more consistency, predictability and demand for skilled professionals than it has for several years, according to recruiting company Hays in Japan.

“The market is active, hiring is consistent and we are seeing a constant flow of new roles,” says Jonathan Sampson, Regional Director of Hays in Japan. “This trend has continued for more than six months now.

“As we approach the end of the year and recruitment deadlines loom, many hiring managers are going out of their way to arrange multiple meetings on one day in order to fast track the process. The approval process is also generally faster, and firms are hiring multiple people within the same department," Sampson said. "Given the higher number of roles and competition, candidates with in-demand skills often receive multiple offers, and more counter-offers.”

According to Hays, another significant trend is the return of operations functions that were previously off-shored (or flagged for possible off-shoring) to Tokyo. “Front office roles in both the buy and sell side remain abundant, although they are more focused at the junior to mid-levels, while compliance remains a hot area,” said Sampson.

According to the latest Hays Quarterly Hotspots list of skills in demand, the following skills are sought in Japan’s banking sector:

-- Rates Derivatives Trade Support – Given the shortage of skills in the fixed income operations area, demand is high for talented middle office candidates, and employers are showing more flexibility on the type of people they will consider.

-- Banking Operations – These candidates are sought in response to the increased number of foreign participants (institutions) using the Zengin system, as well as recent regulatory changes.

-- Investment Trust Management (ITM) related Sales & Marketing professionals – Sales and marketing skills are sought in response to the new tax-free investment scheme NISA (Nippon Individual Savings Account). Many AM firms are trying to strengthen their mutual fund sales teams by hiring new salespeople and those with experience in making marketing sales promotion materials in order to gain better market share.

-- Compliance (Anti-Money Laundering/Financial Crime Prevention) – Many securities firms do not have dedicated AML Compliance Officers, and therefore these responsibilities have been divided between existing officers. This has prompted the need for additional headcount with a more general focus. In addition, regulatory sanctions issued in the USA and UK require global financial institutions to take a pre-emptive stance so as to avoid further issues in other jurisdictions. For Japan this translates into a commitment towards consolidating the compliance and audit departments.

-- FX Sales - Throughout the year there has been a strong increase in demand for currency sales, both institutional and corporate. This is mainly due to the strength of the Yen and general confidence in the economy.

-- Equity - We’ve also seen a number of new roles for Cash Equity Sales, Sales Trading, as well as Equity Research, and it seems like the trend will continue for the next year.

-- Fixed Income - A number of major firms are looking to hire talented rates and credit sales and marketing professionals, ideally at the junior or mid-level so that they can train them up to their specific company culture.

© Japan Today

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No Japan's banking industry needs people who will toe the line, hide losses, fudge books and maintain the status quo at all costs. At least that's what it thinks it needs.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

All the positions listed here require a very high level - if not native level - Japanese skills.

For compliance positions, you almost always have to be Japanese since there is lots of interaction with the Japanese Financial Services Agency. You should also be able to knowledgeable in the local compliance, labor laws, etc... Quite though for a foreigner.

The comment regarding return of operations functions back to Japan may be true for Japanese banks (if it ever happened) but foreign banks / securities companies are still heavily invested in shared service centers in Hong Kong, Singapore and India. I know some headhunters who are seeking for people with Japanese skills in Singapore back offices to serve Japanese clients in Japan. Perhaps language barrier became too much of an issue. However I would not expect a huge influx back. Talent is still much cheaper outside of Japan.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Talent is still much cheaper outside of Japan.

I disagree, partly for the reason that "talent" does not exist (in meaningful quantities) in Japanese banks.

Nearly all new hires in the Japanese banking system are new-grads, educated in Japanese universities (where talent is repressed rather than developed) with irrelevant degrees. The starting salary for these junior "bankers" is less than what business-school interns would earn in an American or European bank. Even English teachers can get better pay than enty-level bankers in Japan.

Talent usually goes where the money is. Much of what little talent is brought up in the Japanese banking system quickly jumps ship to join American or other firms where it is appreciated more, and compensated better. There are many highly-successful Japanese bankers, but they live and work in New York, Hong Kong, or London, not Tokyo.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

What are they talking about the strength of the Yen?! This current government's mandate is to weaken it!

yeah good luck hiring "top talent" - i think most of it is siphoned off to Wall Street, London or Hong Kong

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The regulatory environment in Japan does not help. The FSA in particular seemed to be determined to obstruct everything we were trying to do. One set of rules for Japanese banks, another set of rules for the foreign ones

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Talent in Japanese banks?? There isn't any, just yes men.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

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