Hong Kong firms hiring plans first quarter 2013

19 February 2013


Hong Kong, 05 February 2013 – Buoyed by strong economic and business confidence, 39% of Hong Kong’s Chief Financial Officers (CFOs) and finance directors in commerce and industry, and 33% of banking and financial services senior business leaders plan to add new permanent finance, accounting and banking staff in the first quarter of 2013. This is according to research published today by finance and accounting specialist recruitment firm, Robert Half, in its latest Financial Employment Report.

Hiring projections in Hong Kong for the first quarter of 2013

Banking & Financial Services
Expanding headcount 33%
Maintaining headcount 48%
Freezing headcount 14%
Reducing headcount 5%


Commerce & Industry / Commercial
Expanding headcount 39%
Maintaining headcount 47%
Freezing headcount 11%
Reducing headcount 2%

Source: 150 senior Financial Services leaders, and 150 CFOs and finance directors in Hong Kong. Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding

The survey also reveals that 48% of financial services firms and 47% of commercial firms plan to maintain their current headcount, while only 5% of financial services firms and 2% of commercial firms plan to reduce the number of employees.

This optimism is reflected in companies’ confidence in Hong Kong’s and their own growth prospects. 94% of the respondents in commerce and industry, and 82% of those in financial services are confident about their firm’s growth prospects for 2013, while 90% of commercial and 78% of financial services leaders are confident in Hong Kong’s economic growth.

Pallavi Anand, Director of Robert Half Hong Kong said, “Our survey indicates that companies are optimistic about their growth prospects, and many are cautiously adding new headcount as we enter 2013. While it is difficult to predict what the future holds for the global economy, there are clearly opportunities for talented finance, accounting and banking professionals in Hong Kong.”

Within the banking and financial services sector, professionals with accounting and finance skills are most in demand, as indicated by 65% of the respondents. Risk management (50%), revenue generation (46%) and compliance (37%) were also cited as key areas that will see the most hiring.

In the commercial sector, accounting (17%) was rated as the functional area that is the hardest to fill, followed by credit analysis (11%), cost accounting (10%), accounts payable (10%), financial planning & analysis (10%), and compliance & risk (9%).

With companies at greater risk of losing their best talent to other job opportunities, there is a fresh emphasis on employee retention. Indeed, the survey revealed that 93% of financial services firms and 91% of commercial firms are concerned about losing top performers in 2013.

“If the global economic climate improves, we can expect continued competition for high quality candidates. Whether companies are looking to retain or hire new employees, they need to ensure that they are offering more than just an attractive salary. Candidates will want to clearly understand how a company can help them build their skill sets and develop their career. In such a competitive market, factors such as a clear career path, a commitment to work-life balance, and greater responsibilities and challenges will strongly influence individual career decisions and help firms attract and retain talent,” said Ms. Anand.  

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