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Hong Kong’s top 10 talent trends for 2016


Updated: 17 Dec 2015

As Hong Kong maintains its status as a financial and commercial hub in Asia, businesses in 2016 will scramble to recruit professionals with the ability to work within diverse cultural environments as they further tap into the potential of regional markets, according to recruiting experts Hays.

The recruiter says that multinational companies will prefer candidates who grasp three languages to support their business growth in the city, which continues to serve as a bridge between Asia and the global market.

According to Hays, Hong Kong’s dominant role as a regional commercial centre, its close relationship with the mainland economy, and the growing offshore yuan businesses have prompted MNCs to hire more talent with tri-lingual skills.

“Trilingual skills are in hot demand given Hong Kong’s unique position as a gateway to the mainland and Asian markets,” says Dean Stallard, Regional Director of Hays in Hong Kong. “In order to boost their sales in the regional market, multinational companies are accelerating their pace to acquire candidates who can understand different cultures and efficiently execute their strategies.”

According to Hays, Hong Kong’s increased efforts to consolidate its status as an offshore yuan hub will give rise to new recruitment needs in financial institutions in 2016. Business opportunities and increased hiring will arise following the International Monetary Fund’s decision to include renminbi into a basket of its reserve currencies.

“The internationalisation of yuan will continue to benefit Hong Kong because it is by far the most ideal marketplace for promoting yuan outside the mainland,” says Dean. “In other trends for the year ahead, IT professionals will be in hot demand as the volume of business conducted via the Internet continues to rise quickly. High-calibre professionals who can help fine tune supply chains will also be avidly hunted as companies hope to enlist their help to reduce costs.”

Hays’ top 10 talent trends are:

1. Trilingual skills: Hong Kong will continue to serve as a financial and commercial hub in Asia. An increasing number of MNCs, in order to expand their footprint in the region, will require candidates to have a command of at least three languages (Mandarin, Cantonese and English) to facilitate communication. Candidates should have the ability to operate within diverse cultural environments and act as the bridge between Asia and the global markets. With the rising profile of the mainland economy, MNCs will need trilingual skills in 2016 to effectively execute their strategies in the fast-growing regional markets.

2. Offshore yuan centre: The financial sector will be busy in 2016 as renminbi will be increasingly used and traded in Hong Kong. Financial firms can’t afford to miss the opportunities as more deals with the use of yuan are transacted in Hong Kong. The stock connection schemes, cross-border capital flows and more yuan-denominated equity investments will create new job openings for professionals with knowledge of the mainland market.

3. Information technology: Information technology will remain a strong area of vacancy activity in 2016. Employers will need capable IT professionals to keep their existing systems running smoothly as well as to develop new systems. We will also see strong demand for software developers and IT managers who can lead a department.

4. Diversity of IT candidates: One of the biggest challenges companies face when hiring IT professionals in Hong Kong is the lack of diversity in their skills. Employers find that many candidates cannot handle all the new technologies. As a result, in 2016 we advise companies to hire people with an IT background and offer them sufficient training to develop their skills.

5. Increasing activity in the CRO market: Pharmaceutical companies continue to outsource their clinical research projects, creating high demand for clinical research skills. As the pharmaceutical market continues to grow in size and the notion of a “one-stop shop” becomes more popular, clinical research organisations specialising in specific functional areas will flourish in 2016. Heated competition to secure talent with medical research capability will occur.

6. Optimising sourcing system: MNCs will look for more sophisticated techniques and experienced professionals to reduce costs of local operations. Many organisations have moved away from traditional sourcing methods while developing longer-term strategies. High-calibre procurement managers will be in demand as MNCS attempt to cut purchasing costs from suppliers and vendors by implementing optimised sourcing systems.

7. Flexible workers: The coming year will see an increase in the use of temporary contracts to hire support professionals as many multinational organisations choose contract assignments as an opportunity to assess individual performance before committing to longer-term or permanent hires. Candidates should be prepared to use a temporary role as a showcase for their skills and an opportunity to create a good impression to those employers.

8. Strong property market: The Hong Kong property market remains strong. Increasing rents are the key driving force. The continued increase in office rents has driven continued demand for new office buildings. A sustainable construction sector will be good news to real estate professionals, including property managers, who will be able to advance their career in 2016.

9. Construction spree: As Hong Kong remains a business hub, the development and redevelopment of buildings and a massive amount of investment in construction will be needed to meet business demands. Consequently, in 2016 companies will continue to hire professionals to complete construction projects including asset managers and those with development experience.

10. Go digital: As social media and e-commerce become more popular in Hong Kong in line with global trends, professionals with experience in using the Internet and other digital tools to do business will be favoured by companies looking to get ahead in the digital age.

For more information on any of these trends or the local recruitment market please feel free to contact your local Hays office.

Hays is located in Hong Kong at 6604-06,66/F, ICC, 1 Austin Road West, West Kowloon, Hong Kong. Phone +852 2521 8884or email

Hays, the world’s leading recruiting experts in qualified, professional and skilled people.

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For further information please contact Kerryn Celine, Senior Marketing Executive - South East Asia at Hays, on +61 2 8226 9844 or


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