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Media Release

High Mobility in Hong Kong Workforce

As employer confidence recovers, Hudson Report finds a liquid hiring market

Hong Kong – 19 January 2016 – The employment outlook for Hong Kong has recovered from the sharp dip in confidence in 2015. The latest Hudson Report findings show hiring intentions now stand at a net 40.8%1 of employers looking to increase headcount in the first half of 2016, an increase of 15.3% from H2 2015.

The Hudson Report: Forward Focus 2016, which monitors employer hiring intentions in Hong Kong, has today been expanded to include data on job seekers and their career plans, providing a complete picture of the 2016 Hong Kong talent market.

Survey results also indicate that 32% of the Hong Kong workforce will be on the hunt for a new job in 2016, while 43% are ‘passively’ seeking one – in other words, they are watching job ads and are open to being approached – creating an increasingly fluid job market.

“During 2015, the hiring outlook declined significantly as a result of the slowing Chinese economy and volatility in global financial markets. However, the local and regional economy has proven to be quite resilient, with a corresponding uplift in confidence and competition for talent,” said Mr Siddharth Suhas, Director, Hudson Hong Kong.

The report has also found that 45% of professionals intend to move jobs within a year, while half would move countries for the right role.

“The Hong Kong talent market is highly commercial and job seekers will follow the opportunities. We’re seeing a highly mobile workforce that’s willing to change jobs, industries and countries to find the right role.”

Organisational growth creates employee-driven market

“Positive hiring intentions make the competition to attract talent much more difficult. Meanwhile, job seekers are noting the renewed confidence and we’re seeing that reflected in their desire for change. Employers will therefore need a robust strategy to attract and hire the best professionals available,” Mr Suhas said.

58% of employers in the Professional Services sector plan to increase headcount, followed by Financial Services (47%); and Consumer (32%).

“In Hong Kong, Financial Services remain the backbone of the economy, meaning that while the professional services sector is planning to grow, we expect much of the hiring will be for consultants who specialise in consulting to banks and financial companies. Additionally, we’re seeing many global financial institutions moving critical positions into Hong Kong because of its geographical advantages and global outlook.”

This influx of jobs means that job seekers in the Financial Services industry are the most likely to be looking for a new role, with 23% actively or passively job seeking.

“Another significant driver of growth in this industry is an increasing focus on regulation, so we expect that many of the new hires will be in areas such as compliance, audit and risk.”

Salary the key to attraction and retention

The Hudson Report also reveals what these restless employees are looking for in a new role, and the right salary is top of the list with 63% citing it as crucial. Work life balance is also important for 44% of respondents, followed closely by career progression (42%).

When asked what makes employees leave a job, lack of career progression (27%) and disappointment with salary (22%) were the top reasons.

Despite the importance employees place on salary and career progression, the survey shows 20% of professionals surveyed have not received a pay increase in the last year, and only 25% have received a promotion in their current role. As a result, employees could be seeking greener pastures – but there are ways to ensure retention.

“While most employees are open to hearing about potential roles, not all will be tempted to move. Employers need to ensure they are offering the right salaries, career plans and flexible conditions if they want to retain their top talent,” Mr Suhas said.

Accounting & Finance professionals in demand

The profession of the employees most likely to consider a change is Accounting & Finance, where 38% plan to move. This is significantly higher than the next on the list, Marketing & Communications, at 18%.

“Accounting & Finance employees will seek out new opportunities as they recognise the market for their skills is strong – especially in the first quarter, when businesses are focused on planning, analysis and budgets,” Mr Suhas said.

Commenting on the results of the Hudson Report, Mr Suhas said employers need to be proactive not only about hiring new employees but about keeping their current ones.

“If nearly half of Hong Kong’s employers increase their hiring, the competition for talent will be fierce. Employers need to be ready to negotiate the right salary in this climate, as well as mapping out a clear career path for candidates. The key is to have a robust strategy for attracting, retaining and hiring talent – you cannot leave it to chance in a job market where so many individuals are willing to move.”

– ENDS –

1 Net effect is reached by subtracting the percentage of those planning to decrease headcount from the percentage of those planning to increase it.

Editor Note
Please contact us for more information, print-ready graphs or to arrange an interview.

The Hudson Report frequently refers to the term ‘net sentiment’. The net effect figure is calculated by taking the percentage of employers surveyed that expect to increase permanent staff levels, or their contracting/temporary workforce, during the forthcoming six months and subtracting the percentage of employers surveyed that expect to decrease staff levels.

Background on Hudson Report: Forward Focus 2016
For the last decade, the Hudson Report has tracked ‘intentions to hire’ as a status check on the hiring landscape. But demand for talent is one thing, supply is another and the picture isn’t quite complete without a line of sight into the people being hired. As a result, the Hudson Report has now been expanded to include core data on job seekers and their career plans. The objective: to provide employers with key insights that help them attract and retain the best people in today’s talent market. The Hudson Report surveyed 238 Hong Kong employers and 586 employees.

About Hudson
Hudson is a global talent solutions company with expertise in leadership and specialised recruitment, recruitment process outsourcing, talent management and contracting solutions. We help our clients and candidates succeed by leveraging our expertise, deep industry and market knowledge, and proprietary assessment tools and techniques. Through relationships with millions of specialised professionals in 22 countries, we bring an unparalleled ability to match talent with opportunities by assessing, recruiting, developing and engaging the best and brightest people for our clients. We combine broad geographic presence, world-class talent solutions and a tailored, consultative approach to help businesses and professionals achieve higher performance and outstanding results. More information is available at

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