Employers in Hong Kong are optimistic about recruitment in 2015, with net hiring sentiment for the first half (H1) of 2015 recorded at its highest level in more than three years.
Over half of local employers (52.1%) expect to increase the numbers of their permanent staff in H1 2015, up by 5.9 percentage points (pp) in H2 2014, found Hudson’s new employment trends report.
“A tight labour market, low unemployment and increased business confidence, are providing favourable conditions for hiring, while global regulatory changes are having a significant influence on the strong demand for talent in banking and financial services,” said Tulika Tripathi, managing director of Hudson Asia.
The optimism is expected to be led by banking and financial services, with 65.1% of employers looking to increase headcount in H1 2015, up by 21.8 pp from H2 2014.
Tripathi explained that the trend of cutbacks in middle and back office support areas, particularly in ‘business as usual’ roles, which are being offshored to low-cost locations such as India, is likely to continue.
“However, on a more positive note, the controlling functions such as risk, compliance, anti-money laundering, internal audit, governance and regulatory control are all actively hiring and will continue to build their teams for the foreseeable future.”
She also anticipates increased hiring activity from banks looking to build their private banking arms. As a result, demand for language proficiency in Cantonese, Mandarin and English will be high, not just for banks but across financial services.
In the consumer goods industry, hiring is expected to be led by luxury goods and healthcare, with an overall 54.7% of employers looking to increase headcount, up 7.9 pp from H2 2014.
“Luxury goods retailers are investing significantly in their frontline retail staff and consumer health companies are focusing on general trade/open trade sales managers to gain market share through volume across this channel.”
She adds that digital marketers with exposure to e-commerce and those with category management experience are in short supply. The manufacturing and industrial sector, on the other hand, will see a big drop in hiring intentions, falling 21.3 pp to 32.3%.
“Manufacturing roles that were once relocated to China are now being moved to other parts of Asia, having a knock-on effect on hiring intentions. Additionally, we have noticed an increase in demand for skilled candidates with experience in China and who are willing to travel extensively throughout the country.”