2018: Hong Kong employers to focus on upskilling staff and hire new talent to combat disruptive forces

Hong Kong’s financial services industry is set to undergo significant changes in 2018 as the effects of disruption continue to unfold. Read more here. 

  • Top three disruptive forces in financial services in Hong Kong in 2018 are macro-economic conditions (61%), technological change (52%) and new regulation (52%). 
  • 44% of Hong Kong CFOs within financial services plan to upskill their existing employees to manage change in their organisation, 35% plan to hire additional staff. 

Hong Kong’s financial services industry is set to undergo significant changes in 2018 as the effects of disruption continue to unfold. New independent research commissioned by specialised recruiter Robert Half shows nearly half (44%) of CFOs within financial services plan to upskill their existing employees and 35% are planning to hire new staff to manage change and disruption in 2018. 

Financial services disruption – 2018
When asked what are the top disruptive forces that will change the financial services industry in 2018, more than six in 10 (61%) Hong Kong financial services leaders refer to macro-economic conditions, followed by technological change (52%) and new regulation (52%). 

Financial services disruption – 2023 
Looking ahead to 2023, financial services leaders predict technology will have more of an impact as just under two-thirds (61%) say the pace of technological innovation – such as automation, artificial intelligence, machine learning and robotics – will be the most disruptive force in the market by 2023, followed by new regulation (56%) and macro-economic conditions (53%). 

Adam Johnston, Managing Director of Robert Half Hong Kong said: “Hong Kong’s financial services industry continues to evolve as it grapples to accommodate to industry changes and disruption. The accelerating pace of technological advancement continues to change the face of the industry, and combined with strict government regulations and market fluctuations, financial services leaders are bracing for these challenges in the year ahead. Yet financial services companies and employees can only benefit from quickly and openly embracing this change.” 

How Hong Kong’s financial services leaders plan to manage change in 2018
With these disruptive forces taking hold and technology playing an increasingly significant role, success and survival for industry players will hinge on a combined approach of training staff within their organisation and hiring additional suitably skilled candidates. According to the survey, nearly half (44%) of CFOs within financial services plan to upskill their existing employees, 35% plan to hire new staff, 31% plan to partner with other business (such as digital agencies), and 29% plan to increase business investments.  

“To best manage change and disruption in 2018 and beyond, financial services employers understand they not only need to make sure they bring in additional expertise to address potential skills gaps, but also upskill their staff so they are equipped to take advantages of emerging business opportunities.” 

Staff development in the age of disruption
Confronted with disruptive forces in the industry, the majority of Hong Kong’s financial services leaders are confident in their staff’s level of competence to adapt and be successful during this change. For technical skills, 92% are confident in their graduate-level, 89% are confident in their staff-level and 99% are confident in their management-level employees. For soft skills, 95% are confident in their graduate-level skillset, 95% are confident in their staff-level and 97% are confident in their management-level employees. 

“For financial services professionals ambitious to grow their career and remain in-demand in the market, it is essential to not only upskill their technical capabilities, but also to continuously develop their soft skills, such as leadership, communication and interpersonal skills,” concluded Adam Johnston.       

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About the research
The annual study is developed by Robert Half and was conducted in December 2017 by an independent research firm, surveying 75 CFOs within financial services in Hong Kong. This survey is part of the international workplace survey, a questionnaire about job trends, talent management and trends in the workplace.  

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Gabrielle Nagy 
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