Buoyed by strong economic and business confidence, 39% of Hong Kong’s Chief Financial Officers (CFOs) and finance directors in commerce and industry, and 33% of banking and financial services senior business leaders plan to add new permanent finance, accounting and banking staff in the first quarter of 2013, according to statistics published by Robert Half.
The Financial Employment Report also reveals that 48% of financial services firms and 47% of commercial firms plan to maintain their current headcount, while only 5% of financial services firms and 2% of commercial firms plan to reduce the number of employees.
This optimism is reflected in companies’ confidence in Hong Kong’s and their own growth prospects. Nearly all (94%) of the respondents in commerce and industry, and 82% of those in financial services are confident about their firm’s growth prospects for 2013, while 90% of commercial and 78% of financial services leaders are confident in Hong Kong’s economic growth.
“Our survey indicates that companies are optimistic about their growth prospects, and many are cautiously adding new headcount as we enter 2013," says Pallavi Anand, Director of Robert Half Hong Kong. "While it is difficult to predict what the future holds for the global economy, there are clearly opportunities for talented finance, accounting and banking professionals in Hong Kong.”
Within the banking and financial services sector, professionals with accounting and finance skills are most in demand, as indicated by 65% of the respondents.
Risk management (50%), revenue generation (46%) and compliance (37%) were also cited as key areas that will see the most hiring.
In the commercial sector, accounting (17%) was rated as the functional area that is the hardest to fill, followed by credit analysis (11%), cost accounting (10%), accounts payable (10%), financial planning & analysis (10%), and compliance & risk (9%).
With companies at greater risk of losing their best talent to other job opportunities, there is a fresh emphasis on staff retention. Indeed, the survey revealed that 93% of financial services firms and 91% of commercial firms are concerned about losing top performers in 2013.
“If the global economic climate improves, we can expect continued competition for high quality candidates. Whether companies are looking to retain or hire new employees, they need to ensure that they are offering more than just an attractive salary. Candidates will want to clearly understand how a company can help them build their skill sets and develop their career. In such a competitive market, factors such as a clear career path, a commitment to work-life balance, and greater responsibilities and challenges will strongly influence individual career decisions and help firms attract and retain talent,” says Anand.