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While hiring activities in Hong Kong halved in 2020 due to the pandemic, optimism is starting to grow, with about one third of companies looking to increase their headcounts and more than half maintaining status quo this year, according to Michael Page's latest report. 

Mark Tibbatts, managing director of Michael Page Hong Kong & Taiwan, said, “We are already starting to see the early green shoots of a recovery. It’s widely anticipated that 2021 will be a better year than 2020. Caution may prevail as the government withdraws some of its support for businesses but demand for talent is likely to increase through the year as the recovery gathers momentum.”

The sectors earmarked for highest hiring activity are financial services, retail, professional services, technology & telecommunications as well as fast-moving consumer goods.

Digital transformation continues to have major implications in the Hong Kong market. The appetite for tech functions across all industries is high, especially in the commerce and financial services sectors.

In terms of specific roles, financial institutions in Hong Kong are aggressively looking for cybersecurity talents due to heightened emphasis in recent years. Meanwhile, businesses managing digital assets are increasingly looking for software engineers to bolster their offerings in the burgeoning market.

To bridge skill gaps essential to business recovery, more than a third (35%) of companies in Hong Kong cited the use of automation for basic processes, and another 30% stated their commitment to continued investment in employees by providing training to upskill the workforce.

APAC highlights

Hiring sentiment also reverberates in other jurisdictions outside Hong Kong, with 42% of businesses in Asia Pacific saying that they are already looking to increase headcount through the year.

With most part of the world confronting a new working style for about a year, 4 in 5 employees in APAC were found to feel equally or more productive working from home. Only 5% of them prefer to work completely remotely. 

In response to the times of crisis, more than half of the organisations evolved their performance evaluations, and management teams started reassessing individuals with greater importance placed on positive behaviours. Two-thirds (64%) of companies rated team collaboration as the most valued employees' attribute during times of crisis.

The report surveys over 5,500 businesses and 21,000 employees across 11 Asia Pacific market, of which 3,500-plus are directors or CXOs (chief experience officer).