Hong Kong – The job market in Hong Kong is showing signs of become more risk-adverse in the face of growing uncertainty in the global economy and the weakening outlook for the local market in the second half of 2019, according to the Salary Survey 2020 published today by Robert Walters, a world-leading specialist professional recruiter. The overall hiring market is more balanced, with high demand for talent in the technology and innovation industry in Greater China, especially when candidates with niche skill sets are in short supply.
Hong Kong’s job market is facing adverse challenges, and the expected salary increment when changing jobs has dropped to 10-15% in 2020 compared with 10-20% in 2019. In the current environment both employers and candidates are more conservative, while talented professionals are less willing to jump between roles than in prior years.
Further growth in contract roles while hiring process lengthened
The market was adversely affected by a variety of factors over the course of 2019 and organisations have taken a careful approach to growth and hiring strategies. Ricky Mui, Managing Director of Robert Walters Hong Kong says, “Companies are more cautious when hiring, and hesitate to look into a long-term hiring plan. Hiring processes are foreseen to be lengthened and additional interview stages will be added as employers are more insistent on candidates with specific skill sets. We also expect contracting engagements to continue to grow further. Roles in project management, data science and business analysis will be highly sought after.”
Recruitment remains highly active in financial services, particularly in the fintech sector
Despite a slowdown in hiring for trading and equity-related financial services positions, recruitment remained active for roles in virtual banking, insurtech, private banking, wealth management, distressed debt and special situations funds.
With the issuing of eight virtual banking licenses in early 2019, there will be a strong growth in this area, and employers are already reporting a shortage of talent with the suitable skill sets. A surge in demand for virtual banking and fintech talent ranging from executives to operational staff is expected, and companies are also increasingly open to considering qualified overseas experts with the matching skill sets.
High demand for overseas technology and transformation talent
Organisations across a range of different industries will continue their digital transformations, leading to a sustained demand for analytics, big data, DevOps and digital specialists. In-demand professions and specialist roles will continue to command premiums and yield lucrative new opportunities. According to an industry survey conducted by Robert Walters, 50% of tech professionals are expecting a bonus of 11-20% of yearly salary in 2020, and 49% are expecting a 7-15% increase in annual salary.
High-tech companies and start-ups are continuously looking for the placement of strategic positions for innovation research in Hong Kong, which drives demand for talent specialised in data, innovation, artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things and software development. “A major challenge for the sector is a shortage of local Hong Kong talent, so employers are continuously looking for overseas candidates with niche skill sets. Singapore and Greater Bay Area are competitive markets for Hong Kong in recruiting overseas talent,” says Ricky.
Broader skill sets required for human resources professionals
The survey 1 results show that 45% of human resources candidates are looking to change jobs in 2020. A major underlying trend in this job market is the changing expectations of the role of HR professionals, as organisations are looking for a transitional position between HR and administration. The top four skills in demand in the sector are: business partnering, employee engagement, compensation and benefits, and learning and development. Employers are seeking HR business partners with transformation experience in order to match the trend of digital transformation across industries and the rapidly changing business environment, as well as for candidates who can offer strategic value and advice to the business. Strong capability managers with branding expertise are going to be in high demand, as there is a growing awareness of the importance and value of employer branding in a highly competitive job market. These managers are in charge of helping organisations to meet the evolving expectations of both employees or potential candidates, as well retain and engage existing employees.