TOP TEN TALENT TRENDS FOR HONG KONG SAR IN 2022
TOP TEN TALENT TRENDS FOR HONG KONG SAR IN 2022
Over the course of 2021, one of the most significant changes in Hong Kong SAR’s labour market has been the shift in candidate priorities. The disruptions to the world of work have given people the time and space to really reflect on their personal and professional lives and how to draw the balance between both, making them more selective about roles and companies they choose to join.
As we move into 2022 and a stabilisation phase for global economies, headcounts will be on the rise across multiple sectors in Hong Kong. Companies that have yet to assess their talent strategies in response to shifting candidate priorities will need to step up in designing better candidate and employee experience in a bid to retain their greatest assets in an increasingly competitive world.
While the increased demand in a limited talent pool means that the balance of power might be shifting away from employers in some sectors, candidates should keep in mind that the criteria for many roles will also change, require expanded skillsets and experience that will enable them to hit the ground running with companies that are working to rebuild in the new year. Keeping skills and knowledge up to date will be paramount to candidates looking to enter the job market.
Read on for the Hays Hong Kong SAR top ten talent trends in 2022 and/or download your exclusive Hays Hong Kong SAR Top Ten Trends for 2022 infographic available in PDF format for digital or print use.
1. Mobility and flexibility top candidates’ priority lists
In our new normal, not only is work is no longer just about salary (or who can offer the biggest paycheque), candidates are also becoming increasingly vocal about what they want from a job. Across sectors, candidates are indicating a growing preference for companies that offer flexible work options, including remote working or work from home. Mobility, both within the organisation and to other countries, is also high on candidates’ list of wants and will continue to be a motivating factor as global borders reopen. Companies that already have strategies in place to support alternative work arrangements and talent mobility will certainly have the edge in talent attraction and retention.
2. Entry-level candidates place greater importance on values
Millennials and Gen Z, who are beginning to make up a larger proportion of the workforce, have a reputation for being values-driven in their interactions with brands. These candidates have taken the same approach and are becoming increasingly selective about the companies they choose to work with. What we’ve found are important to these candidates include diversity and inclusion programmes, clear commitments to carbon neutrality and sustainability, as well as corporate social responsibility programmes. Companies looking to attract entry-level candidates to join their workforce will find success by building up their brand reputation in these areas.
3. Banking and Finance actively hiring for diversity
With a ton of literature on how diverse workplaces yield better performance, innovation, and employee engagement, it’s no surprise that businesses are tweaking their hiring policies for more diversity and inclusion. This is especially apparent in the Banking and Finance sectors, where companies are actively pursuing candidates with the goal of diversifying teams, and consciously hiring more women for leadership teams. Some companies have even gone a step further to conduct job interviews with an equal number of interviewers of both genders. This trend is expected to grow as we step into the new year and even trickle down into other sectors.
4. Sustainability-related roles (ESG) becoming strategic hires
Sustainability is a key focus for private sector companies in light of Hong Kong’s ambitious target of achieving carbon neutrality by 2050. Consequently, companies are aggressively seeking out talent experienced in ESG (Environment, Social and Governance) roles to meet the demands of climate initiatives and government regulations. Some roles that will come into prominence include ESG Director, Sustainability Manager, and Health, Safety & Environmental Manager positions.
The focus on sustainability is also strong in the Finance sector for roles within the risk, compliance, anti-corruption space. However, a massive skills gap is anticipated in this space and companies may turn to hiring international talent or accept less experienced candidates. Within the private banking sector, the appetite is growing for ESG fund specialists and investment bankers. Other areas where ESG-related roles are predicted to see more demand include green energy, SMART city engineering, waste management, green supply chain and logistics, manufacturing, as well as a range of private and government-funded consulting projects. For more on ESG in Hong Kong, read our report on how the sustainability discourse is changing the energy industry.
5. Digitalisation pushing up demand for Tech talent
Digitalisation will continue to accelerate as business leaders focus on future-proofing in order to prevent unforeseen disruptions. Aside from the revamping and upgrading of systems across sectors, previously traditional functions are also showing a growing interest in technology integration. This shift can be expected to drive the demand for IT talent in upcoming year, especially for Quant Engineers, UX Researchers, and Product Managers with specialised expertise to oversee projects or products from end-to-end.
6. RegTech is shaping the future of Financial Services
The pandemic has spurred a digital revolution in Hong Kong’s Banking and Financial Services industries. This not only potentially makes Hong Kong more competitive as a global business hub, the tightening of digital asset regulations in China is also predicted to turn Hong Kong into a potential hub for digital and crypto currencies. Consequently, financial institutions are investing heavily in projects related to RegTech, as well as automating KYC operations and AML/sanctions screening processes. As a result, demand for finance professionals with experience in system enhancement and tuning as well as a basic understanding of programming languages will soar.
7. Private wealth banking set to boom
Hong Kong has long been one of the world’s most robust wealth management hubs due to its proximity to Mainland China. Having remained resilient through the worst of the pandemic, the sector is now set to flourish with the launch of the Cross-boundary Wealth Management Connect Scheme, which facilitates flexible investments between Hong Kong, Macao, and the Mainland, newly set up quant funds, and the growing Hong Kong Family Office Association. Expect greater demand for ESG bankers, relationship managers, and digital wealth/asset management with extensive cross border networks and asset management experience in family offices and Chinese private equity houses. Investment banking candidates should demonstrate deal origination experience, especially in the healthcare, biotech, and TMT (Technology, Media, and Telecom) sectors.
8. Supply Chain revival hinges on experienced specialists
There are slight glimmers of optimism for the embattled supply chain and procurement sector as we move into the new year, especially with the significant investment pouring in from the Life Sciences sector. With the fallout from the pandemic mostly stabilised, we expect a steady increase in demand for supply chain and production talent in the coming year, especially in the manufacturing and consumer industries. Logistics specialists will also be sought after as global borders reopen.
That said, new hires are expected to hit the ground running and should ideally have experience in demand/supply/material planning experience, process improvement, and cost savings, as well as soft skills that will help them drive efficiency and manage process improvement projects with stakeholders and upper management.
9. Human Resources to focus on change management
Transformation and change management remain the most challenging organisational goals with the constant evolution of business models, systems and processes, and employee expectations. Post-pandemic, many employers are honing employee engagement strategies in a bid to improve talent attraction and retention. Consequently, many businesses will be on the hunt for HR candidates who can lead HR, digital, or business transformation in the year ahead to focus on nurturing more engaged employees.
10. Demand for contracting roles as businesses plan ahead
With disruption and rapid change now the new normal in Hong Kong, business leaders will approach headcount management with more caution even though hiring is expected to pick up significantly in the year ahead. As a result, the consistent growth in contracting roles, particularly in the Banking, Insurance, and Tech sectors is expected to increase further. Roles that are in high demand in these sectors include Project Managers for change, digital transformation, and regulatory projects, as are Data Scientists and Business Analysts.
Within the Banking sector, more contract renewals and temp to perm conversions are expected as headcounts open up across varied functions including HR, compliance, credit risk, and middle operations support. In the Tech sector, the pressing need for and shortage of mid to senior level IT/Tech professionals will give candidates more power to negotiate for higher salaries.
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