Sales Representatives, Technicians and Engineers Top Skills Shortages

As the global talent shortage continues to intensify, 57 percent of employers in Hong Kong are experiencing difficulty finding staff with the right skills, up from 35 percent in 2012. Employers report a considerably more pronounced talent shortage than their global peers, 35 percent of whom report difficulty in filling vacancies, the highest level since prior to the global economic crisis.

Among the 424 Hong Kong employers surveyed by ManpowerGroup, 86 percent recognize that talent shortages have a high or medium impact on their ability to serve their clients and maintain competitiveness.

Employers are having the most difficulty filling jobs in Sales Representatives, Technicians and Engineers. Sales Representatives continue to top the list since 2007.

“A strong sales force of in-demand talent with mission-critical role is critical to help drive revenue growth, but Sales Representatives continue to be the most challenging positions to fill.” said Ms. Lancy Chui, Regional Managing Director of ManpowerGroup Greater China Region. “In addition, our survey results have constantly shown that employers report a growing concern over the availability of Engineers, with the job category having maintained a presence in the top five in-demand jobs over the past eight consecutive years due to the booming of infrastructure and railway construction projects.”

Ms. Chui continued, “Employers report a growing concern over the availability of IT candidates with the right skills, as the category climbing from eighth in 2009 to fourth in 2013 on the list of most difficult to fill position. Business agility also requires technology to enhance efficiency and productivity. As such, the evolution of business requirement has relied significantly on IT outsourcing where employers require IT Staff to possess strong communications skills when managing IT vendors.”

Surveyed employers in Hong Kong also report that there are challenges filling open positions, as candidates lack technical competencies / hard skills (27 percent); lack self awareness (19 percent). Fifteen percent also said many candidates are looking for more pay than are offered (15 percent).

Despite acknowledging the impact talent shortages have on their business, a staggering 22 percent of employers are not changing course to identify new ways to address these shortages. ManpowerGroup suggests several strategies HR leaders can pursue to fuel their organization’s competitiveness for years to come. These include identifying and attracting untapped talent, creating a culture of talent development, implementing a Teachable Fit framework to “manufacture” talent aligned with business needs, and improving collaboration with education institutions to ensure graduates are work ready.

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