Although a slight dip in some industries is expected for 2017 and the unemployment rate seems to remain a stable 3.3 per cent, the total economy is forecast to grow by 2 to 3 per cent, according to Hong Kong Trade Development Council Research.
A recent survey by a global multinational firm shows that 35% of Hong Kong employers expect to increase head count this year, mainly focusing on mid-level employees. Furthermore, 58% of employers expect to increase salaries by up to 5 per cent. The reason for this might be linked to their beliefs on talent attraction and retention; 68% of participants think salary increases contribute to these topics. Career progression (64%) and workplace flexibility (37%) are believed to influence attraction and retention of talent as well.
Not only the shortage of talent in the market and the decline in head count for multinationals (demanded by international headquarters) but also the fact that job seekers seem to start preferring flexibility and variety in employers, leads to the prediction that hiring contract workers will increase, according to a report by another multinational recruitment firm. It says that it already saw an increase of contract hires by 20% in 2016. Contract employment does take up head count and attracts a different group of job seekers, giving organisations access to a new talent pool. Next to offering contract roles, organisations are also expected to increase their outsourcing of large-scale recruitment to external agencies.
These positive developments for talented job seekers also lead to higher demands, specifically in the digital and financial technology industries. Organisations in these industries face talent attraction challenges since they are looking for talent with relatively novel skills, like app development and social media marketing. The relatively small number of suitable job seekers that is available to these organisations get an almost unlimited amount of companies to choose from. However, it seems that most of the technology talent is interested in Fintech companies nowadays, mainly because they feel it to be an area of growth with the potential to make large returns.
A final development organisations should consider in the war on talent is the changing attitude of job seekers towards Chinese organisations. Where Chinese companies were considered unattractive a few years ago, due to the globalization of Chinese brands and limited opportunities in the job market job-seeker sentiment towards these firms is becoming a lot more positive. The fact that Chinese organisations have implemented competitive remuneration packages and clear career progression opportunities adds up to the attractiveness of Chinese companies, and therefore to the talent attraction challenges for Hong Kong companies.
TDC – Hong Kong Economy Research