Hong Kong Employment Expectations Hit Three Year high

Improved local business conditions spurred by the gradual recovery of the global economy have injected more confidence into the Hong Kong market.

The latest "Hudson Report: Employment Trends" indicates that nearly half (47.8%) of Hong Kong's employers are expecting to increase headcount over the second half of 2014.

This is a jump of 9.6 percentage points from the first quarter and the strongest reading since Q4 2011.

The report also shows that employers looking to decrease headcount has hit a three year low of 1.6%, dropping 4.5pp. The remaining 50.6% of employers are intending to keep headcount steady, a decline of 5pp.

“Companies are looking to take on more staff to ensure they are ready to capitalize on opportunities when the economy picks up,” said Tony Pownall, General Manager of Hudson Hong Kong.

By industry sectors, Manufacturing & Industrial has the strongest intentions to hire with 53.6% of employers looking to increase headcount over the next six months, followed by Consumer (49.2%) and Banking & Financial Services (44.8%).

“Within the Manufacturing & Industrial sector, we are seeing more demand for real estate and property management roles, while strong gains in the Consumer sector is being driven by growing demand for talent from the FMCG and retail segments,” said Pownall.

Positive hiring intentions in the Consumer sector grew 10.9 pp contrasting with declines in the latter half of 2013 and stable results in Q1 2014. “Retail operations roles, such as store managers and visual merchandising are sought after in the market. For FMCG, demand is high for brand managers, e-commerce and client relationship managers.”

“However, this sector may face challenges in future as visitors’ spending shifts from luxury goods to mid-priced products. Growing competition from neighbouring markets is also expected to have further impact on businesses which may impact near term hiring trends,” Pownall noted.

Banking & Financial Services sector is becoming more cautious heading into the second half of 2014. The majority of employers (53.7%) are looking to keep headcount steady, as they watch and wait for the next signal from the market.

“China’s ongoing measures to monitor and fine-tune its banking policies to stabilize growth have also pushed Hong Kong banks to remain cautious in their outlook," said Pownall.

Many banks are maintaining staff levels rather than proactively increasing them.

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