Financial techies bank on jobs in Asia

Information technology professionals from downsized banks in Europe and the United States, find new jobs in the finance hubs of Asia.

As banks in the West downsize, a tide of IT talent is steadily making its way into Asia's financial centers in search of new jobs, say recruitment experts.

According to a recent newsletter from recruitment agency Hudson, more qualified IT candidates who specialize in the financial services industry are moving from New York and London to Asian markets, than in the previous three years.

Ellis Seder, IT and telecommunications manager at Hudson Hong Kong, wrote in the report: "This group used to move into Asia in a trickle, but is now aggressively pursuing opportunities across Singapore, Hong Kong, Tokyo and Shanghai."

Seder told ZDNet Asia in a phone interview that as banks shift their global tech spending to Asia, these "international candidates" with specific technical and business experience are in high demand.

According to the report, Hudson is seeing "the highest quality of candidates" moving to Asia since a similar trend in 2005, though the reverse then was true--Asian professionals were the ones moving to the West.

"These [financial tech specialists now] see the need to base themselves in Asia or the Middle East for the next five to 10 years, in order to achieve their maximum earning potential," the report stated.

Roger Olofsson, IT associate director at recruitment consultancy Robert Walters, noted that as Asian banks expand and move job functions into this region, their recruitment of such talent brings good news for all parties involved.

"For these banks, these professionals now provide the expertise that had so far not been addressed because of the absence of such skills [in Asia]," Olofsson told ZDNet Asia in a phone interview.

Local employees also gain as foreign professionals help create opportunities for skill transfers, said Olofsson.

In addition, he noted that more jobs could be created in the long run since the transfer of skills from foreign professionals would enable banks in this region to provide services and products that they otherwise could not offer.

Jacinta Low, head of planning and employee communications at OCBC Bank in Singapore, agreed.

"Building up strong internal capabilities is critical to OCBC Bank, as we continue to pursue international growth under our New Horizons II five-year strategy," Low told ZDNet Asia in an e-mail interview. "In line with the strategy, we have been building people resources with a focus on diversity and competences to support our overseas expansion efforts."

"As such, we recognize and welcome talents from all walks of life, including those outside the banking industry who possess the right attitude and personality, specialized skills or relevant experience to join us," she said.