Last week saw the Belt and Road summit held in Hong Kong where business leaders are getting to grips with the endless opportunities that the expensive infrastructure project that includes now 63 countries presents. The initiative is at the behest of the Chinese government and is set to impact countries not only in Asia but Europe and Africa as well.
And, according to new independent research commissioned by specialised recruitment firm Robert Half shows China’s Belt and Road initiative is expected to have an immensely positive impact on businesses and the finance industry in Hong Kong.
According to the Robert Half survey of 150 CFOs 36% said the Belt and Road initiative will result in an increase in business investment, 35% believe it will create more job opportunities for financial professionals, 32% predict it will enhance Hong Kong’s financial connectivity, 25% said it would impact business growth and expansion while 24% believe it there will be an increase in salaries for finance professionals. Just 5% of respondents said the Belt and Road initiative will not have an impact on businesses in Hong Kong.
“The Belt and Road Initiative will undoubtedly be a driver for Hong Kong’s economic development and further promote the city as a globally recognised financial hub,” said Adam Johnston, managing director of Robert Half Hong Kong in a press statement. “The initiative is expected to have a direct and positive impact on the local finance employment market as new infrastructure projects drive up demand for those with the necessary financial expertise to manage the implications of these initiatives.”
There is, however, a downside – there is an increasing demand and a limited supply of skilled talent. In the same survey, 95% of CFOs said it is challenging to source qualified professionals, specifically within accounting (29%), finance (21%) and cost accounting (19%) which rank amongst the top three functional areas that are most difficult to find skilled professionals in Hong Kong.
“The ongoing skills shortage within Hong Kong’s financial sectors is placing pressure on organisations who want to capitalise on government initiatives and ambitious expansion projects as they struggle to find skilled finance professionals to manage the financial operations of such large-scale projects,” added Johnston.
“Businesses will have to work alongside government and education initiatives in order to nurture and promote the supply of talent across the finance sector. As jobs growth takes hold and the competition for top talent gets tougher, the onus will fall on businesses to successfully attract and retain top financial talent.”