Hong Kong's disrupted supply chain labour market sees rise in contract/temporary roles


Caught in the tariff crossfire between Washington and Beijing, Hong Kong is seeing an economic slowdown that has positioned cost-efficiency as a top priority for the region’s supply chain industry. For the labour market, this means slower recruitment activity, a rising preference for hiring contract and temporary workers over permanent staff, and a demand for planning and procurement functions alongside technical knowledge.

Rise of contract and temporary roles
These are some of the findings from The Inside Story of Hong Kong , a monthly regional recruitment analysis undertaken by global recruitment expert Hays. Focusing on the specialism of ‘Supply Chain Management’ this month, the analysis found that aside from cost-saving leading to a slowdown in recruitment within the sector, there has also been a significant rise in demand for contract and temporary employees over permanent staff. Apart from cost and time efficiency, contract workers bring with them a number of benefits well suited to an evolving market like specialized knowledge, on-demand expertise, adaptability to change and the ability to ‘hit the ground running’.

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Employers and candidates
Despite the influx of both candidates and contract and temporary jobs in the market, a few pervading expectations have led the former to prefer permanent roles instead. Organisations could benefit by distancing themselves from the notion of preferring ‘stable candidates’ who have worked in the same company for five or more years and embrace a hiring mindset that mirrors the adaptability and versatility currently required to weather the market.

Skills in Demand
The shifting industry landscape and focus on cost-efficiency have also made fundamental functions like planning and procurement a priority in Hong Kong’s supply chain market, alongside IT and digital skills to drive business transformation. However, the job-short market has made it imperative for candidates to upskill and build bargaining power as employers cut back on costs and benefits.

Jack Leung, Regional Director at Hays Hong Kong commented, “While Hong Kong’s economy was impacted by the trade war, European companies are moving to fill in the gap left by U.S. companies. In fact, most of our hiring activities in the region have come from European companies this last year. This tells us there are still many opportunities in the market, especially for candidates with the determination to upskill and an openness to contract and temporary roles.”

To read the full Inside Story of Supply Chain in Hong Kong, please click here


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Hays is located in Hong Kong at 6604-06, 66/F, ICC, 1 Austin Road West, West Kowloon, Hong Kong.

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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 30 June 2019 the Group employed 11,500 staff operating from 265 offices in 33 markets across 20 specialisms. For the year ended 30 June 2019:

– the Group reported net fees of £1,129.7 billion 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