What do Hong Kong Finance Execs Want from their New Jobs?

Image: uschools/iStock

Salary, work-life balance, and career development opportunities are the three most important factors when Hong Kong's finance executives consider new job offers, according to a survey by JobsDB.

The survey collected responses from 302 people from the accounting/audit/tax sector in Hong Kong during Sep 28-Nov 1 2018 as part of a bigger survey of 5,810 job seekers aged above 18 from 20 sectors in the city, the online job board said.

Competitive base salary critical

These professionals rated ‘salary / compensation’ as the single most important driver when considering a new role, survey results indicate.

While 93% of respondents rate a competitive salary as a key career consideration, a guaranteed extra month of pay—also called double pay—is seen as important as well, said JobsDB, adding that bonuses and insurance coverage provide additional levers for employers to help retain talent.

Age-relevant total rewards packages

In addition, companies need to provide an age-relevant career package that goes beyond salary, said JobsDB.

"More than 42% of finance talent surveyed is aged 24 – 34 years old, nearly 4% higher than when compared with other sectors," said Issac Shao, country manager of Jobs DB Hong Kong Limited. "As a result, hiring managers must provide candidates with an attractive salary, rewards, bonuses and benefits package, as well as combining this with an ethical mission, purpose and culture—collectively known the Employee Value Proposition (EVP)—to attract younger employees in this field."

Work-life balance matters to finance execs

There has also been a significant change in attitudes towards work-life balance in this field, Jobsdb said. Survey results indicate that 14.3% of executives in the field indicate they seek to achieve ‘work-life balance'—among the top two sectors most eager for achieving that, said JobsDB.com

As a result, it's important for employers to change their mindset when it comes to working hours.

While five-day work weeks and paid pubic holidays are important to finance executives, they (41.8%) also rate ‘compensation for overtime’ as a crucial decider when selecting an employer.

Helping young execs to keep up with digitalization

The third driver for talent in this field is access to sufficient career development opportunities, JobsDB pointed out, adding that promotion, development and training initiatives are the most important considerations for talent in this regard.

With a younger workforce compared with other sectors, this field's employers need to provide talent with on-going, tailored development opportunities for meeting individual career goals and keeping up with rapid changes brought by digitalization, Shao noted.

Big Four auditing firm EY sees flexible work a differentiator when it comes to recruitment.

“We're working more virtually, such as from a client site or from home. Everyone—from Millennials to employees with children is looking for this flexibility,” said Alexandra Maiden, Talent Leader, Financial Services Asia-Pacific, Ernst & Young.

He pointed out that experiences offered by employers matters to candidates as well. For instance, some executives might want to work with certain clients to enrich their professional experiences, he added.

Pattern of taking leaves

According to JobsDB, accounting, audit and tax candidates also seek flexibility to cash out unused annual leave and take unpaid leave at a far higher rate than professionals from other industries.

It’s a job seekers’ market when it comes to this particular field in Hong Kong. JobsDB Q3 2018 job advertisement data indicated that the number of job vacancies in the accounting, audit and tax industry grew 20% year-over-year.

Therefore employers need to seek increasingly innovative ways to recruit and onboard new talent in this competitive market, JobsDB said.

Across all the 20 sectors, salary and compensation remain the most important factor for Hong Kong candidates considering new jobs, according to the firm.

Results of the survey indicate that 20.1% of all respondents from the 20 sectors consider ‘salary and compensation’ the most important, followed by ‘work life balance’ (13.1%) and ‘career development opportunities’ (10.3%).

Other result highlights of the entire survey

  • 52.4% are reluctant to be based in South China including the Greater Bay Area
  • 55.2% are reluctant other commercial cities in mainland China
  • 32.1% don’t want to stay overseas
  • 59.5% will not consider the job if shift work is required
  • 30.7% will decline an offer if it involves frequent travel