Hong Kong CFOs optimistic about economy and hiring in first half of 2012

19 February 2012

Hong Kong, 20 February 2012 – Business confidence and optimism about growth opportunities in Hong Kong are influencing almost half of Hong Kong companies to add skilled finance, accounting and banking personnel to their team in the first half of 2012. This is according to research revealed today by finance and accounting specialist recruitment firm, Robert Half, in its latest Financial Employment Report.

The Robert Half Financial Employment Report, based on a survey of 300 CFOs and finance directors in Hong Kong, found  that eight out of 10 financial leaders (80%) are confident about Hong Kong’s economic growth prospects for 2012, and 85% are confident in their own company’s growth plans when compared with last year.

This positive outlook extends to recruitment planning as a net 44% of respondents indicated that they expect to increase permanent finance, accounting and banking staff in the first half of the year.

Of the finance leaders planning to hire permanent accounting, finance and banking staff, 45% said it is due to increasing workloads, while 40% cited business growth or expansion.

“Hong Kong is maintaining its reputation as one of the world’s most competitive financial hubs. Amid the global economic uncertainty, bright spots exist within the finance and accounting and financial services sectors in Hong Kong. And this means opportunities are available for talented job candidates,” said Pallavi Anand, Director, Robert Half Hong Kong.

Finance (21%) was rated as the toughest functional area to find skilled job candidates, followed by Accounting (18%), Audit (13%), Operational Support (11%) and Compliance (7%).

The survey also found that 46% believe there will be no change in the number of permanent accounting and finance professionals in their organisation in the first six months of the year. Only 2% say their company is planning to decrease headcount.

“Hiring within finance and accounting remains relatively upbeat and there is still intense competition for talented candidates. We would advise even those employers who are intending to keep headcount the same over the first six months to continue to take proactive steps to retain their best people and help develop their skills as they grow their businesses in 2012,” Anand said.

She added that companies who have not firmed up their recruitment plans for the rest of the year could consider hiring temporary or contract staff. This staffing strategy can provide organisations with access to skills they may be lacking internally and provides a viable option to manage through the peaks and troughs of workload demands.

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