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Selby Jennings - The Asian Debt Asset Class & its Impact on the Economist Part 2

Selby Jennings - The Asian Debt Asset Class & its Impact on the Economist – Part 2

Whilst the European and US economies have struggled over the last few years, we have witnessed remarkable growth in major Asian Economies. Capital controls and underdeveloped capital markets have often been attributed as reasons for past successes in the region, as well as potential pitfalls hindering their future growth prospects. Thus to avoid such pitfalls, in recent years we have seen the emergence of a new model that champions growth in the capital market and in particular the debt market. As such, we have seen Asian Debt increasingly becoming more of an asset class of its own. Nevertheless, as always, the sustainability of this growth remains questionable.

So what bearing has this emergence of a new Asian Debt asset class had on hiring?

Demand for Wider and Deeper Regional Knowledge

As firms look to expand their regional coverage across Asia, there has been an increase in hiring of Asian economists with strong experience working across the whole region. On the contrary, we have seen a decrease in opportunities for candidates with a specialist focus on a particular country or sub region despite that fact that many such candidates may have had exposure across various parts of the region and have transferable skills. In addition is the need for deeper regional knowledge, resulting in a preference for experienced senior candidates, which are increasingly running in short supply.

Demand for Mandarin Speakers

There is a wide demand for Buy Side teams and family offices to beef up their economic and macro research teams and since these teams are more local than global banking establishments, there is an increased need for local mandarin speakers, which again are in short supply.

A shift in the profile of a “top” candidate
Firms are increasingly favouring candidates with experience in research houses, central banking and consultancies, who have broader experience in terms of coverage and more advanced client facing skills. This replaces the previously sought after profile of the top tier investment banking candidate. A strong educational background however is still required, with candidates ideally qualifying with a PHD from a good school, having the ability to demonstrate strong analytical skills as well as having links and contacts with policy makers.

Alongside this rise in the Asian Debt Asset Class, we haven’t necessarily seen a rise in salaries, but instead, these changes have emphasized to candidates that they need stability, a respect for macroeconomics and an understanding of its importance in the world of investing. Based on the ideal set of criteria above, ideal candidates for Economist positions are in short supply, so we have seen many firms rapidly hiring to ensure they snap up the best talent while it is still available. 

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