While the demand legal & compliance roles this year has been slower than years past, hiring has remained stable for the last six months. The majority of hiring is currently driven by internet giants, fintech companies and banks headquartered in China, boosting the need for language skills in Mandarin. Senior roles are also seeing more movement as more companies restructure amidst frequently changing regulations.

Chinese businesses drive hiring demand

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 legal & compliance sector, the analysis found that in previous years, hiring would generally peak from the second quarter onwards, but that has not been the case this year. However, the market has remained stable with not much difference in hiring volume between January and now.

Much of the existing demand comes from Chinese companies who are looking at long-term planning and have remained quite aggressive in their legal hiring. Many such Chinese banks are also setting up offices in Hong Kong and are in the process of getting their licenses, spurring demand for local and senior compliance experts to head their departments. Established MNCs with significant market share in Asia have also continued hiring. In contrast, demand is slower from companies who have just entered the market, with many pausing their expansion plans until the economy stabilises.

Broader skillsets expected

Mandarin language skills have become increasingly crucial as business relations with China increase. Additionally, experience in the booming internet and tech industries will also become increasingly important. This means that candidates will need to broaden their skillset and learn about new areas of the law such as data privacy that will become more important as companies go remote. They could also upskill in the employment space as many companies will be forced to restructure if the global economy does not recover soon enough. Knowledge of different employment laws across APAC will be beneficial.

Flexible recruitment on the rise

The job market for legal & compliance in Hong Kong is competitive at the moment with many candidates in the market. Interview processes are longer at the moment as clients are making the most of their permanent headcounts. There has also been a marked increase in demand and preference for flexible recruitment solutions i.e. the hiring contract or temporary workers. Roughly 20 per cent of all roles are now open to converting into flexible from permanent, possibly owing to the increased flexibility and cost control offered by this option in difficult times.

Jack Leung, Regional Director of Hays Hong Kong commented, “While legal & compliance roles will continue to see steady demand in the coming months, this is an important period for candidates in Hong Kong to keep in touch with market movements and brush up on their language and other skills. The current market is competitive, which means that staying skill-ready for new opportunities could translate into a leading advantage. However, the rise in demand for contracting or temporary workers also opens up more opportunities and is growing trend that is mutually beneficial to both employers and employees in these uncertain times.”

To read the full Inside Story of Legal & Compliance in Hong Kong SAR, please click here

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 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

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