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More than 90% of companies within Hong Kong’s financial services sector are looking to hire in the next three years, yet nearly all of them say they have “difficulty finding and keeping employees.”
A new report by the city’s Financial Services Development Council (FSDC) has found a need to raise the bar of the local financial talent pool, given their role in Hong Kong’s status as an international financial centre.
One of the biggest challenges is the lack of industry knowledge and soft skills among fresh graduates, dissuading employers from hiring and training them.
Companies have also reported difficulties in attracting graduate talent for jobs perceived as “less attractive”, such as middle-back office and operations, as well as front-office jobs in the insurance industry.
Skill gaps were found among existing practitioners as well, in terms of a need to improve their language, communication and presentation skills. This was compounded by what the report described as a focus on “short-term poaching” rather than “long-term talent development”.
“We found that financial services companies generally do not have a long-term view in terms of training and talent development,” cited the study.
This could also lead to local professionals losing out to expatriates and Mainland professionals, who may be better equipped with the skills required.
To combat the potential problem facing the financial services industry, which contributes to more than 6% of the city’ s overall employment, the FSDC has put forward recommendations.
The first is to enhance the understanding of various careers in the financial services industry, through regular job fairs and the setting up of an online financial career guide.
It has also proposed better collaboration between academia and the industry. This could be done through initiatives such as better communication through forums, lectures on practical aspects of the course, and more transparency in internship opportunties.
Another area of development is the overall language standards of both English and Mandarin, as well as presentation and leadership skills, for which FSDC has called for government support.