Employers in Hong Kong expect the forthcoming year to be somewhat positive for hiring, although some remain cautious as a result of macroeconomic factors.
According to the 2016 Michael Page Greater China Salary & Employment Outlook report released this week, 41% of surveyed employers are expecting an increase in headcount this year and 40% expect headcount to remain the same.
“Hong Kong enjoyed a good 2015, and employers continue to be relatively positive about the professional employment market despite economic uncertainty. This is demonstrated by reasonably positive predictions on hiring activity, salary and headcount increases, and bonus packages,” said Sharmini Wainwright, managing director, Michael Page and Page Personnel Hong Kong.
Notably, the survey found that Chinese companies are creating more job opportunities in Hong Kong as they expand and some set up international offices in the city. This trend has been particularly pronounced in financial services but has also been observed in business support roles for small and medium-sized enterprises as well as in the legal sector.
“While Hong Kong has always been known as an international gateway and financial powerhouse for many multinational companies (MNCs), we have observed more mainland Chinese companies increasing their presence in Hong Kong – especially in financial services – thus helping to drive job growth and business expansion in the city,” added Wainwright.
Other growth areas include digital specialist roles, spurred by retail market changes and the development of e-commerce in Hong Kong, as well as sales and marketing. Sales, marketing and business development roles were cited as the most difficult roles to replace, with 36% of employers indicating so. Digital and technology roles came in second (29%), with job changes commanding salary increases of 20-25%.
The report also found that over half (51%) of Hong Kong employers use contract workers, and almost one-third (32%) of surveyed employers have a team of more than 101 contractors. In light of the uncertain start to 2016, the growth of a contracting workforce is a common sight in financial services firms across the city.
“Contracting is becoming an increasingly popular option for our clients as temporary assignments can help to counter cost management challenges or headcount issues. For instance, we are seeing high levels of growth for contracting in Hong Kong’s financial services sector. Despite the economic slowdown, the China market is still relatively strong and developing,” said Wainwright.