Recruitment in the banking & financial services, accountancy and IT sectors expected to expand during the second half of 2014

03 August 2014

Professionals employed in these sectors will see good prospects against the backdrop of Occupy Central

Hong Kong, 4 August 2014 – While business chambers are advocating against Occupy Central in Hong Kong’s Central Business District, senior management in the banking and financial services, commerce and IT industries appear to be more concerned about retaining and finding skilled talent in the coming six months. This is according to Robert Half’s Employment Report for the second half of 2014, based on the latest survey of 225 senior executives in Hong Kong: 75 senior leaders from the banking and financial services sector; 75 Chief Financial Officers (CFOs) from commerce and industry sector companies; and 75 Chief Information Officers (CIOs) / Chief Technology Officers (CTOs).

The survey revealed that the top concerns for Hong Kong’s corporate leaders were talent retention and recruitment. Almost all respondents (96%) from the banking and financial services were concerned about losing top accounting and finance talents. Their counterparts in the Commerce and Industry sector also echoed similar sentiments with 96% of CFOs stating they were worried about losing their top finance talent. The IT sector fared slightly better with 89% of CIOs and CTOs expressing concern over staff retention.

In a similar vein, corporate leaders in Hong Kong agreed that it was difficult to find and hire suitable employees. All respondents (100%) from the banking and financial services sector said they had difficulty finding new hires; 95% of CFOs indicated the same and so did 93% of CIOs and CTOs.

However, despite their talent woes economic confidence has risen across all three sectors and Hong Kong’s senior business leaders are also planning to increase or maintain current staff levels over the next six months.

For business leaders in the banking and financial services sector, 48% plan to add new permanent staff, with 40% maintaining current headcount. Another 9% are freezing all new hires while only 3% plan to reduce headcount.

Hiring within finance and accounting in the commerce and industry sector will remain buoyant in the second half of the year. 55% of CFOs are planning to add new permanent finance and accounting staff, while 43% will be maintaining their current headcount. Only 3% are freezing all new hires and none are forecasting a reduction in headcount.

Recruitment of technology professionals will be slightly less active with 33% of CIOs planning to add new permanent staff, 48% maintaining current levels, 13% freezing all new hires and 4% looking to reduce headcount.

Ms. Pallavi Anand, Managing Director of Robert Half in Hong Kong said, “The current political scene does not seem to affect business and economic confidence as one would generally assume. We expect the hiring market for all three sectors to be particularly active for the next six months, as companies move to drive growth plans and take advantage of the global upswing of the economy despite the current labour crunch.”

The challenges of hiring and retaining top talent will be exacerbated by high business confidence levels, coupled with strong intentions to expand the current headcount.

“Companies in Hong Kong will have to look at options besides simply increasing remuneration if they wish to attract and retain the best talents whilst keeping overheads low. Pro work-life balance and better employee engagement policies will have to be leveraged effectively to keep Hong Kong-based organisations globally competitive.”

To view the Robert Half Employment Report H2 2014, Click here.

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