Millennial bankers in Hong Kong and London could be in for a shock

Who’d be a Millennial beginning a career in banking now? Cost-cutting and redundancies are prolific as technology takes over. In London, ‘the political situation’ is prompting some banks to issue warnings that the UK should be ‘avoided like the plague’ as sterling volatility turns the country into an emerging market. In Hong Kong, irrespective of today’s withdrawal of the extradition bill, veteran bankers are warning of banks’ enthusiasm for the city.

Juniors trying to start their careers could suffer. Anecdotally, there were fewer offers made to interns this summer. One UK student said he couldn’t find anyone invited to come back. The exception might be Deutsche Bank, which allegedly made offers to 80% of its London interns this summer (rising to 90% in tech), possibly as a way around its cost-cutting hiring freeze.

It’s in Hong Kong, however, that banking veterans say Millennials could be most at risk.  “Irrespective of the extradition bill’s withdrawal, the status quo here has changed forever,” says one Hong Kong banking veteran. “2047 [when Hong Kong stops being an autonomous region] no longer seems as far away as it used to be.”

He predicts that banks in the territory will react with redundancies. “Banks in Hong Kong are genuinely worried about the longer term potential for capital controls and the effects of the trade war. Some serious cost-cutting is coming in Hong Kong and banks will focus on juniors with questionable footprints on their social media acccounts.”

He also predicts cuts at boutiques’ Hong Kong offices, and says bigger banks are going to be looking at moving their headquarters to Singapore and Shanghai (for really China-related affairs) and to places like Malaysia for back office activities.

“This generation is totally screwed,” he adds, “but when I speak to them, they don’t even seem to realize it.”


Sarah Butcher – Read more on efinancialcareers.com


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