As the economic recession triggered by social unrest was compounded by the global pandemic, recruitment budgets for Hong Kong SAR businesses were constricted. However, as the economy has stabilised, hiring plans are being reappraised and the technology sector is set to see pockets of growth, particularly in industrial commerce, insurance and digital transformation.
“The global pandemic has altered not only how businesses operate, but how we live our lives,” explains Simon Lance, Managing Director at Hays Greater China. “Employees are working from home, consumers are shopping online and all manner of industries must explore new and innovative ways of capturing customers and discovering revenue streams. This has led to a revolution in digital transformation utilising AI, machine learning and cloud technology.”
Whilst AI and machine learning dominate the headlines, it is cloud technology that is proving most critical to Hong Kong’s development as a digital nation, as the former two technologies require huge amounts of computing power. As a result, candidates with experience in Amazon Web Services and Azure will be in great demand in the coming year, as will those skilled in programming languages, with Python likely to be a key trend for the upcoming five years.
“As well as the technology headcount that will be required to put new digital transformation projects into place, with these developments being rolled out across a broad range of industries, companies will require their staff to be upskilled in the changes,” says Simon. “This means that we shall also likely see candidates required for learning and development, though these may be recruited on a contracting basis.”
It is not only in education that the technology industry will be using temporary staff in 2021, as due to the uncertainty brought about by the global pandemic, more companies are considering – or have already recruited – contract workers.
“Providing more flexible resolutions to staffing requirements, the use of temporary staff is growing within the technology sector,” continues Simon. “Of course, business momentum is growing, but many employers are having to take into account the long- and short-term objectives and contracting is the ideal resolution, meaning that we are likely to see this continue well into the year ahead.”
Working flexibility of another kind is on the minds of many technology professionals. Though a work-from-home culture had been necessitated by the pandemic, many employees are now reluctant to relinquish this option and candidates are increasingly demanding a continuance in any new role that they take on. Fortunately, employers have noted that efficiency may be maintained or even improved by such practices, they are more likely to provide this option, something that is warmly received by younger individuals.
“As Generation Y and Z professionals become more prominent in the workplace, there is a pronounced shift in office culture. As well as requiring flexible working options, these younger candidates are motivated less by financial incentives, and are instead interested in less-tangible, more diverse enticements,” explains Simon. “Many are concerned by the cultural impact that a company has, and as a result, organisations are promoting their social responsibility and charitable works across media platforms, making them increasingly attractive to this more societally conscious generation.
“Candidates are also concerned by their potential for mobility; for some this may mean in a more global, literal way, and are looking to relocate overseas. For others the ability to move into differing areas of an organisation’s framework is important, in doing so gaining experience in other IT aspects such as project management, network and infrastructure.”
An overview of what other trends have been observed in Hong Kong’s technology sector can be viewed below:
•    There are few boundaries to recruiting overseas candidates in the technology sector. However, where language restrictions are concerned, trilingualism is of great importance for key IT functions where communication with development teams is required.
•    The recent momentum in the insuretech start-up sector is set to continue, with strong recruitment to follow into 2021.
•    Skilful professionals who are capable of creating software, systems and platforms that can provide business solutions and capture revenue will be key hires in the year to come.
•    Outside of the more prominent areas, the market is currently job short, meaning that competition is high, salary expectations must be tempered, and employers can be more selective.
•    With there being a greater necessity for technology candidates to apply tech knowledge to real life business solutions, communications and stakeholder management skills are of increasing priority.
To download the full Inside Story of Technology in Hong Kong SAR report, 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. At Hays in Hong Kong SAR, 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 Australia and one of the market leaders in Continental Europe, Latin America and Asia. The Group operates across the private and public sectors, dealing in permanent positions, contract roles and temporary assignments. As at 30 June 2020 the Group employed c.10,400 staff operating from 266 offices in 33 countries across 20 specialisms. For the year ended 30 June 2020:
–    the Group reported net fees of £996.2 million and operating profit (pre-exceptional items) of £135.0 million;
–    the Group placed around 66,000 candidates into permanent jobs and around 235,000 people into temporary roles;
–    17% of Group net fees were generated in Australia & New Zealand, 26% in Germany, 23% in United Kingdom & Ireland and 34% in Rest of World (RoW);
–    the temporary placement business represented 59% of net fees and the permanent placement business represented 41% of net fees;
–    IT is the Group’s largest specialism, with 25% of net fees, while Accountancy & Finance (15%) and Construction & Property (12%), are the next largest
–    Hays operates in the following countries: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, 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