Increasing demand for China-specialised professionals, the localisation of the workforce, continuous innovation and the impact of the ‘through train’ stock connect scheme are among the trends that will shape the recruitment landscape in Hong Kong in 2015, according to recruiting experts Hays.
“Vacancy activity is tipped to increase in 2015, with a focus on the banking, retail, supply chain, accountancy & finance and technology sectors,” said Dean Stallard, Regional Director of Hays in Hong Kong. “We’ll see a general expectation that candidates in Hong Kong need to be trilingual and the contract market will continue to evolve.”
Top 10 job market trends for 2015:
1) Demand for Mandarin-speaking, China-specialised professionals will be high in 2015: On a number of fronts, a major engine for hiring in Hong Kong’s legal, financial and other jobs markets is China’s move towards operating in the global economy. The renminbi is on track to become the third-largest international currency behind the US dollar and the euro within five years as China accelerates its promotion of the yuan. Meanwhile Shanghai and Hong Kong have linked their stock exchanges, and Hong Kong listings of China-based companies are driving work in local capital markets.
2) Digitally-savvy HR experts in demand: Experts agree that big data, alongside the right data mining technology, can provide unprecedented new insights and predictive patterns into employees (not just customers), leading to improved recruitment and retention strategies. In 2015 we will see HR experts interpret data relating to talent attraction, engagement, retention, performance and satisfaction, and use it to make strategic talent acquisition decisions.
3) Compliance jobs are hot: Recent heavy fines imposed on global banks for violating US sanctions have put the financial industry on alert about the risks associated with exposure to international money laundering. Banks have responded by hiring thousands of new compliance experts and are spending millions of dollars to improve their anti-money laundering (AML) programs. Compliance (more specifically AML/sanctions) will, in 2015, be considered by many candidates as the hottest job in banking.
4) Boost to accountancy & finance jobs: More permanent accountancy & finance roles are being created by organisations regionally headquartered in Hong Kong. This increased hiring is strongest in the retail, property and technology industries. In these industries higher salaries, bigger bonuses and more benefits are being used to entice top performers away from their current temporary or permanent positions.
5) Shanghai-Hong Kong Stock Connect creating new jobs: The ‘through train’ stock connect scheme opened in November and has already generated new jobs in the banking and IT sectors. Securities companies and brokers are expecting to benefit further in 2015 from increased transaction volumes and new business opportunities. The outlook for the Hong Kong and Chinese equities markets remains upbeat and cross-border investment will grow in the years ahead, especially when China eventually allows international investors to access a fully convertible yuan.
6) Localisation of the workforce: In 2015 employers will continue to focus on hiring local candidates over expatriates as they are already ‘on the ground’ and often have Chinese, especially Mandarin, language skills and PRC experience. The Hong Kong government also advocates that local candidates must be considered first, with the exception being highly skilled candidates who are in short supply locally.
7) Mobile optimisation experts: There will continue to be a significant increase in demand for digital marketing professionals across the board. As the industry matures it is separating out more into specific skills areas such as content, SEO/SEM, analytics and social media and therefore experts in these areas rather than generalists will be valued. A particular area of jobs growth will be in mobile optimisation as businesses optimise their mobile site for SEO so they rank well on Google’s ‘mobile-friendly’ criteria. We’ll also see companies incorporate mobile into all areas of their digital marketing, which will create high demand for Mobile Developers with iOS and Android skills.
8) Convergence of IT and marketing: The rapid evolution of digital marketing is transforming organisational structures and the gap between IT and marketing teams will narrow. As this trend develops Chief Marketing Officers with the management skills, operating experience, strategic mindset and vision will emerge to lead businesses.
9) Employers are doing more with less: Hiring intentions are positive for 2015, yet most departments continue to be under pressure to control costs. Innovative new strategies to attract and retain talent will be used by employers who cannot increase salaries in line with the level of demand.
10) Growth of mobile job applications: Job seekers and employers alike will increase their use of mobile recruiting in 2015. According to a recent website poll 41 per cent of respondents in Hong Kong said they do their job searching mostly by desktop but sometimes by mobile, while 56 per cent said they search mainly by mobile and sometimes by desktop.
This article was originally published on Hays.