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Hong Kong Employers Focussed on Digital Transformation

Research from Randstad indicates that technology and digital skills will be vital to success in many aspects of Hong Kong’s workforce in 2024.

By Maggie Mancini

Employers in Hong Kong are expected to focus more heavily on technology and digital skills in 2024, according to recent research from Randstad. The next year will usher in a blend of trials and opportunities for professionals in a variety of fields, including finance, banking, HR, legal, life sciences, retail, and marketing. Most of these changes will be driven by technological transformation, shifting demographics, market dynamics, and evolving regulations.  

HR professionals will see new job roles emerge as more traditional positions retire. This is due to automation, which increases demand for specialised HR skills amid increased talent scarcity. Roles related to human resource information systems (HRIS) and learning and development are expected to surge as companies continue to value robust HR teams to drive change in their organisations.  

There will be a decrease in demand for administrative and repetitive tasks due to increased automation. Despite technological advancements making payroll processes more efficient, the demand for talent in payroll is expected to rise, with individuals in these roles seeing up to a 50% increment when changing jobs.  

Geopolitical shifts and the COVID-19 pandemic have resulted in a significant reduction in regional roles based in Hong Kong, as employers are relocating their hubs to mainland China—particularly Shanghai and Beijing—as well as Vietnam. At the same time, fewer professionals are moving from western countries. 

Government policies and geopolitical tensions have the banking industry in a constant state of flux, the report finds. Regaining consumer confidence will be a major priority for Hong Kong’s banking and financial services industry, with employers setting high expectations for candidates, seeking experienced talent with a proven track record in revenue generation, and prioritising talent with a deep understanding of regulatory changes. Professionals in front office roles are expected to seek a 20% salary increment from new employers in 2024, while those who remain with their current employers can expect increases ranging from 5% to 10%, the report finds.  

For accounting and finance professionals, tech-driven opportunities will result in the gradual diminishing of traditional roles. The sector is adapting to the needs of the younger workforce by focussing on skill development, retention, and effective communication. Companies are competing to attract junior and middle managers as younger workers are drawn to technology, supply chain, and healthcare industries and the talent pool shrinks. 

When it comes to changing jobs, accounting and finance candidates in middle management roles are attractive to employers. At the same time, some companies are reducing the salary levels of senior accounting and finance professionals in response to economic and skills needs. Professionals who haven’t upskilled may find themselves taking lateral steps or pay cuts due to industry restructuring, the report finds.  

Legal professionals will see their job market impacted by government policies and the after-effects of the pandemic in 2024. Law firms have seen significant layoffs over the past 12 months, which has caused a ripple across other sectors. This slow growth has led to many employers taking a conservative approach to hiring, the report finds.  

Hong Kong’s life sciences sector is expected to shift and change following the COVID-19 pandemic, with opportunities to advance science research and improve health outcomes, the report finds. Research and development in biotechnology are integrating AI to discover treatments in specialised fields, with companies seeking out talent in specific areas of expertise. Medical device companies are also leveraging the advanced technology in AI and robotics, and companies are looking to improve headcount to keep up with the demand. Pharmaceutical companies will focus on driving sales to increase market share in 2024, with organisations increasingly offering clear career growth paths and career development opportunities to keep up with the demand for specialised technical skills.  

The reopening of Hong Kong’s borders in 2023 has helped boost its retail industry while also challenging organisations to keep up with the rise in tourism amid an industry-wide talent shortage, the report finds. At the same time, AI is enhancing both online and offline customer experiences. Randstad predicts a surge in demand for talent in CRM and data management to drive online sales. At the same time, companies are prioritising soft skills when evaluating candidates for roles in the industry, and professionals with interpersonal skills and a customer-centric approach will thrive.  

For employees, work-life balance is especially important, with a growing emphasis on hybrid and remote work. Professional growth and opportunities for upskilling and training are also important. Job switchers are also negotiating for higher salaries and lower commissions to improve income stability.  

Similarly to the retail sector, the recruitment landscape in the sales and marketing industry remains challenging, Randstad finds. As businesses expand, employers have started to critically assess the necessity of some roles, which has led to varying job prospects for professionals at different career stages. While there are plenty of opportunities for junior to mid-level sales talent, there is lower demand for senior professionals. 

Much like in other sectors, the rise of AI and the growth of e-commerce has impacted the talent in this field. As many individuals push to improve skills in data analytics and social media marketing, the talent-scarce landscape in sales and marketing has led many professionals to make career changes, opting for high-growth industries like insurance, tourism, hospitality, and e-commerce to increase salaries by 25%-30%.  

Tags: HR Technology, News Ticker, Talent Acquisition

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