Hong Kong, January 19, 2021 - Professional recruitment services firm Michael Page Hong Kong launched the Talent Trends 2021 Report, with a keen eye on Hong Kong’s job market. While hiring activities dipped 48% in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic, optimism is already starting to show, with about 30% of companies in Hong Kong looking to increase their headcounts and more than half maintaining status quo in 2021.
Mark Tibbatts, Managing Director of Michael Page Hong Kong & Taiwan, says, “We are already starting to see the early green shoots of a recovery. It’s widely anticipated that 2021 will be a better year than 2020. Caution may prevail as the government withdraws some of its support for businesses but demand for talent is likely to increase through the year as the recovery gathers momentum.”
In view of the economic demands, the sectors earmarked for highest hiring activity are financial services, retail, professional services, technology & telecommunications as well as fast moving consumer goods (FMCG).
According to the report, digital transformation continues to have major implications in the Hong Kong market. The appetite for tech functions across all industries is high, especially in the commerce and financial services sectors.
In terms of specific roles, financial institutions in Hong Kong are aggressively looking for cybersecurity talents due to heightened emphasis in recent years. This is also driven by the scarcity of cybersecurity professionals which in turn is driving up the demands. Elsewhere, businesses managing digital assets are increasingly looking for software engineers to bolster their offerings on the burgeoning market.
According to the report, 61% of employed technology professionals anticipate looking for new opportunities in 2021 while another 30% is passively open to new ones. This suggests increased employment activity in this sector. Considering the competition for high-potential tech professionals, Mark Tibbatts advises, “Besides being attracted to join companies that utilise the latest technologies, talents are still attracted to companies that put people first. By demonstrating people are their best asset, these technology companies will stand out as employer of choice. Also, as technology is taking centre stage in many businesses, highlighting how the employees will be involved in the core business will also help a hiring manager stand out.
As a viable option to bridge skill gaps arising from their move to business recovery, 35% of companies in Hong Kong cited the use of automation for basic processes while 30% stated their continued investment in employees by providing training to upskill the workforce.
In addition to recruitment insights and industry analysis on the Hong Kong job market, the report also shares new insights across the Asia Pacific market on related topics such as digital readiness, organisational structure, flexible working, leadership, performance management, and diversity and inclusion.
Across the Asia Pacific region, the COVID-19 pandemic dealt a major blow to the global economy across all sectors and markets in 2020. Job vacancies dropped by 8% to 35% depending on the location. Several businesses reported a conservative approach to their hiring strategy, choosing instead to freeze or even reduce their headcount in order to reduce costs. However the reduced rate of hiring was not an indication that businesses shut out all qualified talent altogether. We saw very positive trends upward from Q2 to Q3, and Q4 versus Q3 2020. Optimism exists in 2021, as 42% of businesses in Asia Pacific said that they are already looking to increase headcount in the year.
While the boundaries of work-life balance were debated in 2020, 4 in 5 employees were found to feel equally or more productive working from home, only 5% of them prefer to work completely remotely. This indicates a need for frequent social interaction with co-workers. With this, 51% of organisations evolved their performance evaluations. To reflect the times of crisis, management teams started reassessing individuals with greater importance placed on positive behaviours, 64% of companies rated team collaboration as the most valued employees attribute during times of crisis.
Editor’s note: The Michael Page Hong Kong Talent Trends 2021 Report features insights and market sentiment in Asia Pacific on prominent recruitment and talent-related topics including digital readiness, organisational design, flexible work, leadership, performance management and diversity and inclusion. The results draw from a survey of 12 Asia Pacific markets, with over 5,500 businesses and 21,000 employees, of which 3,500-plus are directors or CXOs. 
For more hiring insights and salary trends in 2021, Michael Page spokespeople are available for media interviews in both English and Cantonese.
Contact: Germaine Lim via [email protected] or +65 9710 1760