Anthony Thompson, managing director at recruitment firm Michael Page International, says most progressive banks are focused on a strong succession plan. However, he says banks are reviewing their cost base and working to improve efficiencies, just like many businesses in a challenging economic climate.
"Where this can involve changes to headcount, most large organisations have an established talent pool and teams of experienced people whose training and retention are part of the group's business strategy," he says.
Emma Charnock, regional director of Hays recruitment firm in Hong Kong and China, says a series of sharp job cuts in some banking areas, including middle and upper-middle posts, has meant that less senior bank staff must take on more responsibility.
"Investment in training and succession planning is something banks have been doing in recent years, so in most cases, there should not be any significant impact on business operations," says Charnock.
She adds that ideally, banks should have a succession plan with a time horizon of three to five years, reflecting the period it takes to develop internal candidates through job experiences. Key positions should have emergency back-ups as well as longer-term potential candidates
At DBS Bank (HK), Sharon Cheng - managing director and head of human resources, Hong Kong and China - says succession planning is an ongoing process.
"A key factor of the succession planning policy is to ensure connectivity with our business strategy and alignment to DBS Group standards," she says.
"Succession planning plays a vital role in preserving our culture, information and knowledge that could be lost due to retirement and attrition. It is also a necessary process to meet our manpower requirements in terms of quality and quantity, by addressing competency and filling skill gaps," says Cheng, adding that DBS combines succession planning with learning and development, equal opportunities and performance management.
In a competitive talent pool, succession planning also needs to take into acc