Trading Places

Inside views on the jobs market

The perils of working in the Western world


Looking for a kinder, gentler work environment? If you’re in North America, you might consider heading east.¬† Human resource experts say cultural differences could be the difference between taking a hefty pay cut and losing your job entirely.

During a downturn in the East,¬†”the right thing to do is to share the burden. There’s that sense of collective responsibility. Whereas in the West, it’s more about individual survival,” says Michael Benoliel, associate professor of organizational behavior at Singapore Management University.

As the world economy slips into a recession, it’s little wonder all eyes are focused on how global companies are shouldering the burden. Turns out, slashing jobs may not be the best way to cut expenses and stay competitive. In fact, preserving¬†employees — albeit at a lower salary — may stave off economic collapse.

But not everyone’s optimistic about their job prospects, particularly new finance graduates looking for a career start. Not only are they competing with the newly unemployed, but junior positions are often first to get axed when the economy hits the skids.

Banks for the wealthy still hiring in Asia


New York City Comptroller William Thompson has increased his forecast for the number of securities industry workers who could be laid off in the city to 35,000 from 25,000, but banks in Asia are still looking to bulk up. Top brass speaking at the Reuters Wealth Management Summit this week said their expansion plans for Asia are largely intact.

Joseph Poon, who heads the Private Wealth Asia division of Australia’s Macquarie Group, said its recently set-up Asian private banking unit will hire another 30-35 client advisers in the next three to five years.

Financial industry job cuts spread to Asia


A woman walks past a branch of a HSBC bank branch in central London September 26, 2008. REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett (BRITAIN)It’s not just Lehman Brothers and Merrill Lynch that look to be shedding jobs amid the deepening financial crisis: HSBC announced on Friday that it’s cutting 1,100 jobs in its global banking and markets operation, or about 4 percent of the unit’s total.

“We’re doing it because of market conditions and the economic environment, and our cautious outlook for 2009,” Hong Kong-based spokesman Gareth Hewett told Reuters.

Wall Street job losses may be Asia’s gain


Add to cart   Add to lightbox (Hair) Download layout Download high resolution A woman walks in front of an electronic board displaying movements in major indices in Tokyo

MUMBAI/SHANGHAI: Within hours of Bank of America agreeing to buy Merrill Lynch this week, Indian financial services firm Ambit hired five Merrill executives, a sign that Asia hopes to gain from massive Wall Street layoffs.

For China and India, whose economies are still expanding at well over 7 percent, the global financial industry crisis makes it easier to recruit bankers who are brushing off their resumes.