As COVID-19 continues to impact the way people live and work around the world, not only businesses but individuals themselves are undergoing a transformation, says recruiting experts Hays. The slew of disruptions in the last year have particularly impacted the workforce in Hong Kong and will likely change the way professionals view their career for the long-term. Speaking on these changes, Jack Leung, Regional Director for Hays Hong Kong outlines four ways he believes employee sentiments towards work may be impacted by COVID-19.

1. Desire to work for purpose-led organisations

The COVID-19 crisis may have led professionals to evaluate potential employers in different ways and perspectives than before. “This includes evaluating which organisations truly believe in the ethical treatment of their employees and sustainable environmental practices, and which don’t,” says Jack. He notes that this could be further influenced by the growing desire in the general population to make a positive difference to the world around them. “Naturally, the situation could be very different from one person to the next. But we can expect the post-pandemic recovery to be characterised by a rise in professionals wanting to work for purpose-led organisations that live their values in an inclusive way, internally and externally, enabling them to find more meaning in their roles,” says Jack.

2. Demand for balance and flexibility

“While the crisis has shaken a lot of people’s sense of security, it has also helped them realise where their priorities lie and which aspects of their lives – both personal and professional – might have been taken for granted. Many people are hoping that this period will be a ‘reset’ moment that will be followed by more flexibility and balance in their professional lives,” says Jack. A recent study by Accenture showed that 60% of respondents said they were spending more time on self-care and mental wellbeing since the pandemic, showing a growing focus on balance and flexibility. “This trend may greatly influence the way professionals make career decisions going forward. More will be likely to pursue flexible roles or permanent roles with supportive employers who actively encourage their workers to maintain a healthy work-life balance and place a strong emphasis on wellbeing.”

3. Thirst for learning

According to Jack, the influx of redundancies and furloughing in the wake of the pandemic has led many professionals to recognise the importance of adaptability and lifelong learning. “Professionals may have already been using the time afforded to them by the crisis to upskill by enrolling in online courses or even just listening to podcasts or reading books and journals of relevance to their industry. The resulting ‘growth mindset’ will lead such professionals to seek out employers that offer them the tools and autonomy for continuous learning and development.”

4. A rise in project-based work

“During this time of lockdown, many people have had more time to dedicate to their passions or take up extra work on the side. This, combined with the lingering economic uncertainty and fears that the post-pandemic recovery will be slower than initially hoped, may lead to a growth in more project-based work,” says Jack. He notes that more workers will feel a need to have a ‘plan B’ to battle uncertainty in the workplace, while others may have seen the value in project-based work and now want to pursue it as a career line, owing to the flexibility project-based work offers. “Considering the increasing demand for flexible workers in the market, such roles are also becoming increasingly easier to find,” says Jack.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has given many the opportunity to reflect on the future direction of their careers. Employers will need to transform their people strategy to reflect these deep-rooted changes in attitudes and perspectives, if they are to attract and retain the talent they need to ensure their organisations thrive in the next era of work,” he concludes.


About Hays Hong Kong SAR

Hays Specialist Recruitment Hong Kong is the one of the leading specialist recruitment companies in Hong Kong SAR in recruiting qualified, professional and skilled people across a wide range of industries and professions.

Hays has been in Hong Kong SAR for over a decade and boasts a track record of success and growth. We operate across the private and public sector, dealing in permanent, temporary and contracting positions in the following specialisms: Accountancy & Finance, Banking & Financial Services, Construction, Digital Technology, Engineering, Finance Technology, Human Resources, Information Technology, Insurance, Legal, Life Sciences, Marketing & Digital, Office Professionals, Property, Procurement, Supply Chain and Sales. Hays Hong Kong SAR has been awarded the “Best Workplace for Women™” and one of the ‘Best Workplaces™ in Greater China 2019’ by Great Place to Work®.


About Hays

Hays plc (the "Group") is a leading global professional recruiting group. The Group is the expert at recruiting qualified, professional and skilled people worldwide, being the market leader in the UK and Asia Pacific and one of the market leaders in Continental Europe and Latin America. The Group operates across the private and public sectors, dealing in permanent positions, contract roles and temporary assignments. As at 31 December 2019 the Group employed 11,600 staff operating from 266 offices in 33 countries across 20 specialisms. For the year ended 30 June 2019:

  • the Group reported net fees of £1,129.7 million and operating profit (pre-exceptional items) of £248.8 million;
  • the Group placed around 81,000 candidates into permanent jobs and around 254,000 people into temporary assignments;
  • 18% of Group net fees were generated in Australia & New Zealand, 27% in Germany, 23% in United Kingdom & Ireland and 32% in Rest of World (RoW);
  • the temporary placement business represented 57% of net fees and the permanent placement business represented 43% of net fees;
  • Hays operates in the following countries: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, Colombia, Chile, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Hungary, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, UAE, the UK and the USA

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