7 Trends Employees and Employers in Hong Kong SAR Should Know in 2024_Content block 1
7 Trends Employees and Employers in Hong Kong SAR Should Know in 2024
In the face of increasingly challenging economic climates, many companies in Hong Kong SAR find themselves at a crossroads, grappling with the dual pressures of uncertainty and the need for sustained growth. Within this volatility, the world of work has continued to evolve, and organisations are cautiously switching from simply keeping the lights on, to strategically planning for the future.
Today, employers and employees in Hong Kong find themselves standing at the cusp of a transformative era, where the convergence of various factors is paving the way for unprecedented change. As more and more data emerge, we take a preliminary look into trends affecting the world of work in Hong Kong, offering insights into how employers and employees can navigate this dynamic landscape with foresight and adaptability.
To better understand the road ahead, we polled 690 skilled professionals and 256 employers from Hong Kong SAR in our latest survey and investigated:
- What employers and employees can expect in 2024
- The hiring outlook
- The rise of the multi-generational workforce
- The importance of contracting
- Where everyone stands with flexible / remote working
- Rising roles in Tech
- The use of Generative AI in recruitment
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Employers and employees in Hong Kong are preparing for what’s to come
A prevailing trend in recent times has been the adoption of a more conservative outlook by some organisations, as they navigate volatile markets and economic instabilities.
Faced with uncertainties such as global geopolitical tensions, trade disputes, and the lingering impacts of unforeseen events, many companies in Hong Kong are choosing to be cautious, opting for prudent fiscal measures and a more restrained approach to expansion.
This has not gone unnoticed by the workforce, and employees across industries are acutely aware of the potential instability that accompanies the conservative approach adopted by some companies. Some workers, prioritising job security over ambitious growth, are opting for stability and resilience during uncertain times. The allure of a steadfast employment environment becomes particularly appealing as employees strive to safeguard their financial well-being in the face of perceived turbulence.
Simultaneously, a bolder contingent of workers is seizing the opportunity to negotiate better compensation packages with competitors. Recognizing the value of their skills in a competitive job market, enterprising professionals are on the lookout for better opportunities in the coming year to secure resources for the potential financial storm on the horizon.
The dual response from the workforce reflects a nuanced understanding of the economic landscape, further influenced by the volatility of a particular industry, the preparedness of the employee and the willingness of companies to invest in talent that will help them move the needle towards their goals for the year.
But companies in Hong Kong are still hiring to meet growing needs
However, in stark contrast, a cohort of forward-thinking companies has emerged, embracing a dynamic and optimistic perspective despite the prevailing challenges. 54.5% of companies in Hong Kong were confident of hiring candidates with the required skills over the next 12 months, proactively shaping their workforce strategies to thrive in the evolving economic landscape that lies ahead.
The demand for hiring in the upcoming period will be driven by persistent talent shortages prevalent across various industries. Presently, 62% of global senior decision-makers identify a scarcity of personnel possessing IT skills as a primary threat to their business. Given this current scenario, a substantial shift in hiring strategies becomes imperative.
With 75% of global recruitment professionals anticipating that skills-first hiring will be paramount for their companies, organisations must consider adopting the relevant approach in their talent sourcing. This means:
- Defining and mapping skills by identifying the core technical skills needed across the organisation;
- Creating defined career paths and learning journeys based on skills gaps, not roles;
Curating targeted learning interventions including formal training, experiential and mentoring/peer learning; and
- Enabling internal talent mobility by posting key roles internally
Companies will have to manage a multi-generational workforce
With talent shortages almost a certainty in most sectors in the coming year, the need to broaden the scope for suitable resources grows ever more urgent. Millennials and Gen Zs are set to comprise over 70% of the global workforce by 2025, offering organisations a wealth of talent to pull from.
But how are companies responding to the shift in workforce demographics? In the upcoming year, persistent talent shortages will necessitate organisations to extract heightened performance from their multi-generational teams.
This has far-reaching benefits that organisations would do well to consider. Studies indicate that companies boasting a workforce with diverse age groups among their teams experience enhanced knowledge sharing, fostering improved problem-solving capabilities and decision-making processes.
- Doubling down on efforts to hire more people early in their careers;
- Exploring opportunities to reengage the ‘unretiring’ populations;
- Training and reskilling those with experience across the organisation; and
- Exploring the opportunities of Hire-Train-Deploy models, whereby candidates are trained for specific skills requirements and armed for deployment at client sites.
Contracting is growing in importance
But contract workers are more than just a temporary solution to increased demand and cost cutting measures. The gap between critical new roles that have grown in relevance (such as tech, green and healthcare roles) that companies are looking to fill and the availability of talent possessing required skills isn’t one that can be easily plugged with traditional recruitment methodologies.
- Gather meaningful data so you can identify the skill gaps you need to address your challenges
- Work with your key stakeholders to develop a clear, cohesive strategy with well-defined metrics and desired outcomes.
- Embrace diverse approaches to talent acquisition to capture the best fit for your organisation.
Staying flexible on flexible working
The Hays study observes that majority of employees in local and international companies have a fully on-site work arrangement, with a higher incidence among local companies in comparison. Among employees of international companies polled across our Asian markets, Hong Kong had the highest percentage with a full on-site arrangement. Separately, employers in Japan have the highest percentage of fully remote workers, with 8.0% and 16.0% of employees in local and multinational companies working offsite, respectively.
Of the employees surveyed, 72.8% of employees agree/strongly agree to the latest work arrangement policy. 40.5% received communications from their leaders suggesting that they believe culture and team morale can only be established through more face-to-face interactions. 30.0% state that their leaders perceive flexibility as leading to a decrease in overall productivity, while 23.3% indicate that their leaders perceive a decrease in collaboration on a day-to-day basis.
Notedly, while flexible working is rated highly amongst the employer benefits, employees did not consider it among the top three reasons for leaving or staying in a company. Other factors such as career progression, seeking new challenges, salary, work-life balance, and fitting well with managers and colleagues are equally important. Consider these when putting together a strong Employee Value Proposition or engaging with employees on flex working discussions to attract new candidates and retain valuable ones.
Tech jobs continue to dominate the landscape
Data analytics remains a cornerstone, furnishing companies with essential insights guiding pivotal decisions, while the increasing popularity of cloud migration aligns with both technical and physical considerations for server infrastructure. This steady stream of demand has given rise to a multitude of roles and opportunities, creating a burgeoning demand for skilled professionals.
Employers and employees are embracing Generative AI in the recruitment process
While global CEOs have been keen to harness the power of Generative AI in the workforce, its usage in recruitment is still in the early stages. 22.5% of employers in Hong Kong surveyed currently use AI minimally throughout the recruitment process, while 19.7% are only looking to explore it in the coming year. 46.6% have no plans to use AI in their recruitment processes yet.
The top three applications among employers who used AI in recruitment are as follows: 46.7% use it for resume screening and shortlisting, 25.0% use it to assist with interview scheduling and coordination, while 21.7% use it to perform predictive analysis for candidate fit.
Despite a majority (59.7%) of human resources personnel polled supporting the use of AI tools to help them perform their tasks at work, just 43.0% of them believe their organisations have embraced AI sufficiently to stay relevant in the future.
Understandably, some of this hesitation comes from a lack of a standard regulatory framework and budget – the latter being the primary challenge highlighted by employers in Hong Kong when implementing AI in recruitment.
There is still much work to be done to bridge the gap. 55.4% of respondents in Hong Kong believe AI-powered resume screening can be biased and requires addressing before being utilised, unlike most of the China respondents who believe the biases are being addressed. The Hays study also found 30.0% of employers who used AI in recruitment are not actively assessing biases in AI recruitment tools while only 22.8% of human resources personnel polled received policies around the usage of AI tools from their manager(s) or organisation.
“Organisations have an active role to play in preparation for the increase AI implementation within recruitment. This involves close monitoring on the inherent biases with their vendors and to consider ethical considerations being addressed at the ASEAN level. Companies could leverage such strategic international collaboration to jointly and continually develop the necessary frameworks to adopt at a local level. This is particularly crucial in fostering trust in inclusive hiring, especially considering the expectations of both staff and candidates to utilise AI in recruitment or job-seeking processes,” said Marc Burrage, Managing Director, Hays Asia.