Hong Kong employers are in a rush to get new employees on board before Chinese New Year.
This is interesting because in Hong Kong, the typical hiring peak period is May to June, after bonuses are paid out.
"But what isn't well known is that the second greatest peak in hiring demand is in February just before Chinese New Year," pointed out Dean Stallard, regional director of Hays in Hong Kong, in the firm's quarterly report on recruitment activities.
HR skills in demand
Within the HR function, there is demand for learning and development and talent management practitioners across all industries.
As more companies continue to do more business with China, L&D candidates with spoken and written Mandarin skills are in demand.
Within the banking and financial services sector, a number of the larger banks have announced plans to cut costs this year - as a result, many long-term stable HR candidates are showing interest in assessing their job options for the year ahead.
Despite costs being pared in some divisions, there is candidate demand in certain sectors.
With a number of smaller regional banks expanding, HR candidates with APAC exposure, responsible for private banking, equities, markets and transaction banking will be sought after.
Due to front office growth plans by large and small banks, HR business partners are also in demand.
Alongside, learning and development managers with programme management experience are required.
Hays has also observed a lot of senior level candidates starting to explore opportunities outside their current organisation.
Sectoral trends in hiring
Apart from the HR function, the following are some of the sectors with strong hiring plans in 2016:
1. Accountancy and finance:Internal auditors are in demand, as a result of increased regulations placed on Hong Kong banks as well as the flow of current internal auditors moving into compliance or risk.
2. Construction:Owing to new projects , there is consistent demand for project managers and site architects. Contract managers are also needed as these skilled professionals can take on overseeing vendor management.
3. Finance technology:IT security is an incredibly high-demand area globally but Hong Kong is behind on its information security capabilities - therefore, there is strong demand for candidates in this area.
4. Information technology:All large multinationals have a continuous need for good business analysts in order to help business users understand the capability of technology.
5. Legal:Mid-level corporate and capital markets associates, who are Hong Kong, US or UK qualified are sought. Law firms are trying to source candidates from mainland China who posses US qualifications.
6. Office professionals:Experienced personal assistants with broad communication skills are needed, especially those with tri-lingual skills in Mandarin, Cantonese and English.
7. Property:More commercial buildings being built in the Kowloon East area is creating demand for junior leasing talent in retail and commercial properties.