Local employers are expected to adopt a “wait-and-see‟ approach for hiring this year, because of the uncertain global economic outlook.
Despite this, professionals will still find plenty of job opportunities in key areas of the market.
That was according to the global salary survey by Robert Walters, which stated that while there will be fewer new positions in 2016, demand for talent in compliance and information technology is expected to remain stable.
It added that with mounting regulatory pressure, compliance will remain a particularly busy area for hiring.
Most growth will be found in asset management, private equity, wealth management and insurance firms, while companies in the fast-moving consumer goods and pharmaceutical industries will also have greater demand for corporate compliance specialists.
Commenting on the city’s recruitment trend, Matthew Bennett, managing director, Greater China, Robert Walters, says the recruitment market will remain candidate-driven, as organisations continue to up-skill their teams by hiring individuals with stronger skill sets to stay competitive in the complex business environment.
“As Hong Kong remains a gateway for companies looking to expand in Asia, professionals with strong regional experience and commercial acumen will be the most sought after. Companies should act quickly during the interview process to avoid losing out on their preferred candidates while professionals should take the initiative to upskill themselves to increase their competitiveness in the job market,” he said.
The report also delved into the pay packages Hong Kongers are expected to receive this year.
Due to acute talent shortages, candidates specialising in areas such as anti-money-laundering (AML) and control room could command increases as high as 30% when switching jobs
Qualified professionals can also expect pay raises of 20% when moving jobs while newly hired and part-qualified professionals are set to receive salary increment if around 15% if they switch jobs.
In addition, increasing cross-border economic integration and anticipation of the launch of Shenzhen-Hong Kong Stock Connect will generate demand for Mandarin-speaking lawyers and investment professionals.
The rising popularity of cloud technology, digital, mobile and big data will also continue to drive the demand for IT professionals.
Financial technology in particular, is expected to be a particular growth area. Established companies will be in the hunt for sales professionals to drive business growth while smaller operations and start-ups typically search for candidates across the full spectrum of skill sets.
The survey reported that IT professionals can expect 12 to 15% pay raise when changing jobs and those specialising in area where there is a talent shortage can get pay of up to 20%.
Bennet added that recruitment processes might become elongated with limited new headcount additions until market confidence returns. “We expect contract hires will become more active as companies facing headcount constraints turn to contractors to meet business needs,” he said.
Despite a not so positive employment outlook for the year, the report predicts that local workers may receive a pay rise of 3%-5% on average in 2016 while the job hoppers can even have their salaries increased by 10%-15%.