A free seminar has been organised to provide insights into the qualifications needed and the expectations of employers seeking to hire fresh banking recruits. Co-organised by the Hong Kong Institute of Bankers (HKIB) and Classified Post, the November 18 workshop, entitled “Getting into banking has never been easier”, will be presented in Cantonese and aimed at ambitious young people who are considering career opportunities in the banking industry.
Carrie Leung, HKIB chief executive, says the seminar will provide the ideal platform for participants to discover more about career options and the type of people banks are seeking to hire.
Importantly, Leung says, seminar participants can learn tips on how to prepare themselves professionally and psychologically to increase their attractiveness to employers.
“Participants will find few better opportunities to ask questions and learn how to present and sell themselves,” says Leung.
While job candidates tend to be academically strong, Leung says one of the biggest criticisms from banks is about job seekers’ expectations and attitude.
“Too often, job candidates fresh from university assume they can walk into high-paying positions or jobs that require specialist knowledge and experience,” she says. “Banking is a people business so [young entrants] need to learn what customers expect and how a bank delivers expectations. They can only do this by starting their career in positions where they interact with customers.”
In addition to academic capabilities, Leung suggests those aspiring to become bankers work on developing their industry knowledge, interpersonal skills and language proficiency.
“Not everyone can find an internship, but during their holiday breaks, students can contact banks to participate in their corporate social responsibility (CSR) projects. This way, they show willingness and can learn more about the industry and interacting with people,” Leung adds.
She says for those without a degree in a finance-related topic, but still interested in joining the banking industry, there is always an entry route.
“Providing people have the right attitude and show a willingness to learn, banks are happy to hire staff with history, English literature and other degrees,” she says, adding that the HKIB Accredited Banking Practitioners programme, which provides the first step into banking, would be a good starting point for aspiring bankers with a non-finance degree.
Leung says HKIB programmes cover areas recommended in the Hong Kong Monetary Authority’s (HKMA) recent guidelines, encouraging banks to monitor and maintain the competency of their employees while fostering ethical behaviour.
The HKIB also offers the Certified Professional – Associate of the HKIB, and Certified Financial Management Planner qualifications, which meet HKMA guidelines, to invigorate professionalism in banking.
Through industry cooperation, Leung says HKIB students are provided with opportunities to gain hands-on experience through part-time work in banks where they perform simple tasks.
In addition to sharing her own career-development experiences, seminar presenter Kimmy Pong, Hang Seng Bank Private Banking department manager for product development and marketing, will also provide advice on ways job seekers can improve their prospects. “People skills are also crucial to successfully interact with internal and external customers,” says Pong.
Expanding the options for those interested in joining banking, the HKIB and Hong Kong Institute of Vocational Education (IVE) have, since last year, entered into dual recognition, allowing IVE graduates that earn the higher diploma in banking and finance – and have passe