Top 10 talent trends for 2013

Updated: 01 Mar 2014
Low unemployment, high staff turnover and competition for good candidates will continue to be challenges for employers in Hong Kong in 2013, creating upward pressure on salaries and a greater need for employers to focus on staff retention strategies, according to recruiting expert Hays.
The Hong Kong labour market remained in a state of “full” employment in 2012. The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate stood at 3.2 per cent from March through much of the year rising slightly in October to 3.4 per.
Engineers and a range of IT and finance candidates will all be in demand in 2013 along with procurement and supply chain roles.
“Employee retention is a priority for 2013 regardless of hiring plans with our research showing local candidates are still happy to move jobs within a year or two of joining an employer to gain a new title or more money,” says Marc Burrage, Regional Director of Hays in Hong Kong.
“Employers In Hong Kong need to focus more attention on defining their culture and hiring for cultural fit to help them secure people willing to stay and build their career,” he says. “Another trend developing is the need for employers to test ethical behaviour as part of the candidate screening process, particularly in the finance sector,” says Marc.
The top 10 talent trends for 2013:
  1. Finance sector demand: According to a report by the UK-based Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR), Hong Kong is on course to overtake London and even New York as the leading financial services employer. CEBR estimates there are currently 249,500 financial services jobs in London, 254,100 in New York, and 207,000 in Hong Kong. By 2016 CEBR projects the order will be 262,000 financial services jobs in Hong Kong, 252,500 in New York and 239,000 in London.
  1. Managing turnover: A Hays survey in 2012 revealed that 63 per cent of those employed in Hong Kong change jobs every one to two years; 21 per cent every two to four years while only 16 per cent stay with an employer for five years or more. “Staff churn has a negative impact on productivity so staff retention needs to be a priority for employers in 2013,” says Marc. “At Hays we recommend employers use performance reviews, career pathways and learning opportunities to engage staff.”
  1. Procurement and supply chain: Demand for mid to senior supply chain and procurement professionals was so strong in 2012 that Hays opened specialist recruitment divisions to help employers connect with talent. Hays Supply Chain and Hays Procurement expect demand from employers for senior executives in these roles to continue in 2013 particularly in the retail and banking sectors. 
  1. Ethics a ‘must have’: “New counter terrorism and anti-money laundering guidelines for financial services firms in Hong Kong mean candidates should expect to be screened even more closely to ensure they have the ethical values, honesty and professional integrity employers are looking for,” says Marc. “Hays is using a number of methods to screen candidates and employers are certainly looking for our guidance in this area.”
  1. Social media recruitment tool: Hong Kong residents have always been early adopters of technology and social media is no different. Savvy candidates are ensuring they set up a LinkedIn profile or even start a blog that reflects their professional personal brand. However, research carried out by Hays reveals that there are still candidates yet to realise that employers are searching online to check them out, including viewing their social media pages. On the flip side, employers still prefer traditional recruitment methods over using social media when it comes to actually finding new hires.
  1. Testing cultural fit: “Employers need to use their Employee Value Proposition to define the company’s culture, goals and ambitions and then use this information to help define the ideal candidate,” says Marc. “By being clear on who they are, employers can get clear on who they want and use this information to inform their hiring and candidate screening process to ensure they are getting the right person on board.”
  1. Onboarding focus: Like many employment markets around the region and the world, Hong Kong employers need to focus more attention on getting their onboarding strategies right. This is where staff retention begins and a new employee forms a relationship with their manager. Research shows most people leave managers rather than the job itself.
  1. Training and development: “With low unemployment and upward pressure on salaries, it is vital employers are able to offer non-financial rewards that still add value to the personal bottom line of an employee, and this will be increasingly important in 2013,” says Marc. “Having a good internal training program will also give employers greater flexibility to hire candidates who are a good cultural fit but that might have a skills gap that needs to be filled.”    
  1. Paternity leave: The Hong Kong Government introduced five days paternity leave for eligible government employees in April 2012 and started drafting legislation to provide all working men with access to three days paternity leave. The new legislation is expected to be introduced in 2013. This is an opportunity for savvy employers to get ahead of the curve by embracing the change and advertising it to employees. Working mothers currently receive 10 weeks parental leave in Hong Kong.
  1. Employees choice of fund: In November 2012 all Hong Kong employees received the right to choose where to place their compulsory workers’ pension contributions. This has led to a flurry of marketing and promotional activity among Hong Kong’s nine Mandatory Provident Fund providers. Run by banks, private fund companies and insurance firms, this sector is expected to become increasingly dynamic in 2013 as providers compete for clients.

Hays, the world’s leading recruiting experts in qualified, professional and skilled people. Voted Asia’s Best Finance and Accounting Executive Recruiter in the 2012 CFO Innovations Awards.

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