Can you comment on the current employment conditions for Hong Kong? Which industries and sectors are showing particularly strong or weak hiring trends?
It is still very much a candidate-driven market in Hong Kong. With unemployment rates around 3.3%, employers are finding it difficult to secure quality employees. Hence, if you are a candidate and looking for a new opportunity, there are many available.
With regards to industries, manufacturing is still moving at slow pace in Hong Kong and arguably a shrinking area as businesses move their production to South East Asia or China. In terms of strong industries, retail, construction and professional services are still showing positive levels of hiring activity.
Many companies are looking to hire professionals for front line revenue generating roles.
What are the top three market trends within your sectors / industries?
Within the Financial Services sector, Know Your Account (KYC) and Anti Money Laundering (AML) are hot skills to possess in the market. Across all industries, front line roles are highly in demand. Support function roles are generally more stable and therefore, if a company is hiring, it is likely to be a replacement role.
We have also seen a strong demand for mandarin speakers, especially for front line roles. Many banks, for example, are looking to take on native mandarin speakers for specific roles.
SKILLS IN DEMAND
What skills and experience are in demand for your sector / industry in Hong Kong?
Sales experience and mandarin language proficiency are well regarded. Companies are also looking for professionals who have experience working with Chinese clients and/or working in China.
How would you characterise the salary environment in Hong Kong?
Hong Kong is a relatively stable and developed market as compared to China. Most candidates move not for the salary increment but for career opportunities and scope.
Can you share with us some of the salary expectations?
For annual salary increases, candidates can expect around 3-5% on average. A job hopper is likely looking at 10-15%, unless the candidate possesses a very niche skill set, in which case they can then ask for 20% or so.
What will the employment market look like in the next six months?
I am positive about the market over the next six months. The majority of clients we work with still have high demand for skilled people. We have also seen a strong start to the year, following on from a strong year in 2014. The growth at the entry level roles is also a strong sign that companies are growing and expanding their businesses.