Banks are dangling the carrot to keep talent. Actually, it’s not really a “dangle,” it’s more of an in-your-face shake, because while bankers in Hong Kong would usually get a 15% pay hike for “walking across the street,” this number is now up to 20% to 30%. Why? Well, first, many people are leaving the city, and these businesses aren’t, so they need to try and incentivize their people to stick around. Second, Hong Kong has a booming crypto scene right now that is also fighting for talent from traditional banks.
A senior executive at a top Wall Street bank in the city who asked to stay anonymous said that the exodus means that mid-level workers in sales and trading have been getting pay increases in the 25%-35% range since June when they moved to a similar job at another company.
“Given our profitability, frankly speaking, we can pay as well if not better than anyone,” said Michael Wu, co-founder and CEO of crypto-trading firm Amber. “It’s a talent war.”