Four in Ten Hong Kong Firms Plan to Hire More Accounting And Finance Professionals

Hong Kong businesses are optimistic about their growth prospects in the third quarter of 2013, according to research revealed today by finance and accounting specialist recruitment firm, Robert Half.


This positive outlook extends to recruitment planning as 43% of Hong Kong’s Chief Financial Officers (CFOs) and finance directors in commerce and industry sector, and 41% of banking and financial services senior business leaders indicated that they expect to add new permanent finance, accounting and financial services staff.


The survey also reveals that 44% of financial services companies and 45% of commercial firms plan to maintain their current headcount by only filling vacated positions, while only 5% of the former and 3% of the latter plan to reduce the number of employees.


“Our latest Financial Employment Report reveals that companies and senior executives in Hong Kong are still optimistic and confident in their business prospects, and look to expand their headcount in this quarter, while keeping a close eye on the pulse of China and the global economy," says Pallavi Anand, Director of Robert Half in Hong Kong. "Signs of US economic recovery is possibly one of the factors leading to the positive sentiment, thus bringing opportunities for finance, accounting and financial services professionals in Hong Kong.”


According to the report, 88% of the CFOs in commerce and industry (or commercial), and 82% of the respondents in financial services are confident about their firm’s growth prospects, while 85% of CFOs and 84% of financial services leaders are confident in Hong Kong’s economic growth.


Within the banking and financial services sector, accounting and finance professionals are in high demand, as indicated by 74% of the respondents. Other areas that respondents plan to add permanent headcount include operations support or technology (64%), risk management (31%), compliance (29%) and revenue generation (21%).


CFOs in the commercial sector cited business or financial analysis (36%) as the area that is most challenging to find skilled candidates, followed by accounts payable or receivable (25%), audit (25%), corporate finance (25%), and financial management or control (24%).


With companies looking to expand hiring, the competition for top talent continues to intensify. 97% of respondents from financial services firms and 91% from commercial firms expressed their concerns about losing top performers in the coming months.


Anand adds: “we can expect more intense competition for talented candidates as the global economy continues to improve. To retain their best people, or to attract new ones, companies should consider offering competitive financial incentives, in addition to robust training programmes and career development opportunities.”