Hong Kong’s post-pandemic employment market is booming, and these industries are making the most noise.
By Zee Johnson
Hong Kong’s business growth and economic stability looks bright for 2022, with most of the city’s orgnanisations making full recoveries following an uphill COVID-19 battle. Randstand’s 2022 Market Outlook & Salary Snapshot details the industries that are helping to push Hong Kong’s economy in a positive (and lucrative) direction. These sectors will all see procedure updates, demand spikes, and salary increases.
But with every cause, there is an effect. Hong Kong’s rejuvenated market now needs new, highly motivated talent, and that talent, in some cases, is painfully scarce. In 2022, the faster employers come to terms with the fact that Hong Kong is a candidate short market, the faster they can maneuver through the intense talent competition to obtain job seekers who support business growth and prosperity.
According to the report, here are some of the industries making the biggest post-pandemic economic impact.
- Banking and financial services.
The banking and financial services industry saw a staggered landscape throughout the pandemic, but now, growth has more than sustained. According to the report, many organisations have shifted their Western focused strategies to ones geared toward Asian markets. Take, corporate banks, for example. These organisations witnessed less transactions from small enterprises and decided to convert their focus to local midcap institutions and major companies in key growth sectors like pharmaceuticals and e-commerce.
With such change comes a talent search for experienced candidates with strong industry ties. To remain competitive in the tight employment market, some regional and international banking orgnanisations have adjusted their benefits packages to factor in market growth. Further, recent research confirms that APAC companies are looking to lift salary and bonus freezes by 2022 to match current and expected salary rates.
- Information technology.
Technology investments are rapidly rising in Hong Kong. So much so, the industry is facing an unprecedented tech talent shortage. An Amazon Web Services report found that areas like cybersecurity, artificial intelligence, and machine learning skills are projected to have the highest demand across all digital skills in Asia Pacific by 2025, with the number of employers requiring these skills expected to triple within that same time frame.
Also expected to emerge in 2022 are more fintech start-ups. With this, the Chinese government is looking to establish Hong Kong as the region’s fintech powerhouse. With the city rolling in private and public sector investments to build local tech capabilities, organisations are expected to drastically increase hiring, particularly for project managers, software engineers, cybersecurity professionals, data scientists and more.
Hong Kong has essentially become China’s epicenter for deal making, giving way to a heightened demand for legal services. The report found that in the first few months of 2021, Hong Kong law firms hired more senior lawyers than in the previous year. And next year, that expansion is predicted to be even more substantial.
Like most industries, the legal sector is undergoing a digital transformation, as law firms seek updated legal software to remain competitive, productive, and compliant. With updated programmes and processes, legal firms can focus more on scaling their operations and enabling their employees to work more efficiently by making remote work easier.
- HR and business support.
HR departments globally have been at the forefront of the international work-from-home shift. And even in a post-pandemic world, their importance will remain unscathed. In 2021, HR took on new work responsibilities, like managing entire workforces remotely, developing strategies to fulfill organisational expectations, and mapping out the future of work. Now, the drive for total workforce management is even higher and again, HR is expected to lead the charge. To do this, areas like human resources business partners, compensation and benefits (C&B), learning and development (L&D), HR transformation, and talent acquisition will all see a vast increase in talent demand.
- Sales, marketing, and communications.
The marketing industry has quickly adjusted to keep up with consumer demand, particularly online. A recent McKinsey study found that more than three quarters of customers and sellers prefer digital self-service and remote human engagement over face-to-face interaction. Only 20% of business-to-business buyers would like to return to in-person sales.
Also, many Chinese organisations have access to big investors and have raised enough funds to help Hong Kong become a global hotspot for initial public offerings (IPOs). Now, employers are prioritising candidates who are well-versed in customer experience (CX), user interface (UI) or user experience (UX) skills—skills that will assist in maintaining a solid brand image and identity while also showcasing companies as innovative and interactive. Market analysis skills and a keen understanding of e-commerce, from managing online sales to content marketing, and SEO to digital business development, are also giving candidates a clear edge over others.