By Vinita Sheoran
Thus far, 2020 has been an extremely challenging year for Hong Kong’s economy and labour market. With growing tensions in the US-China relations coupled with the ongoing threat of Covid-19, the impact has been quite significant. As part of Gemini’s continued commitment to keep our clients up-to-date on the latest market information, an analysis of the current market trends.
Demand for Technology professionals remains the highest
The pandemic has resulted in a weak job market with many companies implementing a (temporary) hiring freeze. However, a strong demand for IT professionals remains.
Covid-19 has exposed the criticality of technology and the need for companies to invest in technological advancement. Strong emphasis on tech is likely to stir the need for IT talent in the future. With everything becoming increasingly digitised the need for IT professionals will continue its positive trajectory.
Hong Kong Government’s introduction of the Distance Business Programme (D-Biz) to fast-track the adoption of IT solutions shows the Government’s commitment and engagement in transforming the city into a hub for tech innovation to compete with neighbouring cities in China.
Sales & Marketing professionals are back in demand
The Sales & Marketing function saw the strongest negative impact of the pandemic. With social distancing measures enforced and work from home arrangements in place for much of the first half of 2020, the need for Sales and Marketing professionals took a hard hit.
Earlier this year, due to a combination of social unrest, Covid -19 and growing US/China trade tensions, Hong Kong saw a severe decline of 44% in retail sales which resulted in decreasing demand for traditional Sales & Marketing roles.
However, after feeling the squeeze at the start of the year, the demand for senior Sales positions picked up rapidly from May and into June. Sales Managers and Key Account Managers saw a spike in demand, a very positive sign for the job market.
With more and more people staying at home, there has been a seismic shift in online consumerism which has resulted in the increased demand for eCommerce Managers, Digital Analysts, and Social Media & Content Marketing specialists.
Finance Remains the backbone of Hong Kong’s economy
It is not surprising to say that the Financial industry has long been the backbone of Hong Kong’s economy. The contribution of the Financial Services sector to Hong Kong’s GDP increased from 13% in 2004 to around 20% in 2018.
In spite of the recent challenges, at the back of the Banking & Financial Services solid foundation, the economy has shown resilience. Demand for some of the key Finance roles has remained stable, with a steady need for CFOs, Financial Controllers, Risk Managers and Finance Transformation Managers.
There has been a massive push by the Government to promote the Fintech industry with multiple investments and funding injected in Fintech start-ups. The launch of new virtual banks has seen an increased demand for Fintech professionals.
Seeing the demand for Fintech talent, the Hong Kong Government introduced the FinTech Anti-epidemic Scheme for Talent Development (FAST Scheme). As part of the scheme, businesses will be subsidised HK$10,000 per month for a year for one full-time new hire.
Human Resources bounces back
The Human Resources and Admin function has been the most adversely impacted and primarily the mid-tier roles.
However, junior roles and graduate opportunities are still readily available. Demand for more senior roles like HR Managers and HR Business Partners have seen a rebound in June, another positive sign. With many new government guidelines, experienced HR leaders will be needed for compliance with regulations.