Hong Kong’s Top 10 Talent Trends for 2017

Hong Kong’s job market will continue to grapple with severe skill shortages in 2017 as the fast changing business landscape ushers in a rising number of new positions in areas of digital marketing and cyber security, according to recruiting experts Hays.

This will lead to fierce competition for candidates who will feel confident asking for increased pay and benefit packages due to the lack of available talent in the market.

“Employers will find 2017 tough in securing adequate talent to bolster business growth,” says Dean Stallard, Regional Director for Hays in Hong Kong. “As companies step up efforts to digitalize their businesses, experienced professionals are in high demand but the local talent pool is not big enough to that meet rising demand.”

According to Hays, organizations are not only looking for employees with technical skills, but who are also creative and have an entrepreneurial mindset so that they can apply disruptive technologies to attract clients and enhance customer loyalty.

“Candidates who can demonstrate how their knowledge of disruptive technologies will make an impact at their potential new employer will stand out in the market as companies hope new hires will be able to dissect available data to improve the overall customer experience,” says Dean.

Hays also says that risk professionals will continue to be in demand in 2017, which could exacerbate a candidate-short market and force employers to offer generous salary packages to secure their preferred candidates.

“Employers understand that a severe shortage of talented candidates will result in greater pay and benefit packages,” says Dean. “Employers will need to be prepared to offer attractive salaries, longer annual leave or higher bonuses to entice qualified candidates.”

Hays’ top 10 talent trends for 2017 in Hong Kong are:

1. Customer experience: As companies look to enhance customer loyalty and improve the customer experience, organizations are on the lookout for candidates who have exceptional analytics skills and are able to make strategic, data-led decisions.

2. Digital transformation: Digital marketing will continue to evolve in 2017 and for many businesses in Hong Kong, their main focus will be on attracting candidates who have a clear focus and vision for executing digital marketing strategies across their 


3. Cyber security: 2017 will see a number of companies increase headcount to combat the threat of cyber terrorism. Senior cyber security professionals will be in high demand as employers look for experts to create and develop strategies to safeguard their IT systems.

4. Ongoing talent shortage: A challenge for many businesses in 2017 will be the growing talent shortage in Hong Kong. One of the most affected industries will be life sciences which is in need of candidates with technical and scientific backgrounds. Other areas where competition for talent will be fierce include medical affairs, regulatory affairs and quality assurance. Companies are likely to offer increased compensation packages to lure their preferred candidates.

5. Know-your-client expertise: Recent regulatory changes in the market will lead to a number of know-your-client positions opening up in 2017.

6. Health insurance knowledge gap: A knowledge gap in the health insurance sector will present challenges for employers in 2017. Due to rapid growth of the sector, many candidates in the market are not suitably qualified. Employers will set their sights on those with a strong medical background such as nursing with the hope of upskilling them where needed.

7. Risk awareness: Banks and financial institutions in Hong Kong will take steps to enhance their risk management capabilities in 2017, amid expectations of turbulence in the currency and commodity markets. This will create demand for qualified professionals who are well versed across risk, audit, compliance and anti-money laundering functions.

8. Contractor market: Candidates in Hong Kong will need to become more open to accepting temporary or contract roles as more employers lean towards a flexible workforce. The banking industry for example will look to address candidate apprehension towards contracting by offering attractive compensation for those willing to consider short-term roles.

9. Junior sales-driven talent: From SMEs to MNCs, employers are favoring junior-level sales talent signaling a ‘changing of the guard’. Companies are proactively seeking sales talent that can navigate their way around new business landscapes and can inject fresh energy and exuberance into their teams.

10. Data centers: We will see an increase in the number of financial institutions from the Chinese mainland looking to build data centers in Hong Kong in 2017. A key factor for many financial institutions in building data centers in Hong Kong is the fast Internet speed.

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