Financial services and insurance are still seeking critical hires to supplement their activities and digital transformation.
The events of 2020 have directly impacted the permanent hiring market in Hong Kong as businesses reevaluate their financial resources and focus on curbing their spend.
However, businesses in buoyant sectors like the financial services and insurance are still seeking critical hires to supplement their activities and digital transformation. The combination of these factors has led to more companies exploring flexible recruitment solutions, or the hiring or temporary or contracting professionals, to support their businesses.
Project managers for digital projects lead demand
These are some of the findings from The Inside Story of Hong Kong, a monthly regional recruitment analysis undertaken by global recruitment expert Hays.
Focusing on the flexible recruitment services sector, the analysis found that while the flexible recruitment sector was already gaining popularity in Hong Kong last year, the challenges of 2020 have led to a more measured hiring market in the first half of the year which is now picking up. Project-related work is a major area of flexible recruitment hiring and has become doubly important in recent months are companies look to ramp up their IT capabilities. The insurance sector has accounted for a large part of this after seeing increased business activity during the pandemic and as part of an industry-wide drive towards digitalising processes across functions.
More organisations are switching to flexible hires
More employers are exploring the option of switching from permanent hires to flexible ones. Over 20% of new jobs registered with Hays in May were originally permanent positions that were changed to flexible ones. This trend can be attributed to the way companies’ budget or account for contracting staff versus permanent. Cost benefits are also an important reason for this switch. This is particularly the case for highly specialised or consulting roles that can otherwise be a significant expense. With borders being largely closed for the foreseeable future, local candidates in areas of demand that are willing to make the change to a contracting model may see lucrative opportunities come their way in the following months.
An optimistic outlook ahead
Alongside the organic growth in demand for contracting professionals, the Hong Kong government recently announced they will be creating thousands of jobs to boost employment rates amid the Covid-19 crisis. Spanning sectors like IT, healthcare, and welfare, many of these jobs will be created through service contracts awarded by government departments, while the administration could also ask existing contractors to increase staffing levels.
The scale at which these will be implemented is shaping up for increased collaborations with the government and increased opportunities for contractors in the coming months, said Jack Leung, regional director of Hays Hong Kong.
“While the future remains uncertain for many sectors, all indicators point to a fruitful year ahead for flexible recruitment solutions,” he said. “The fact remains that many firms are reducing their permanent staff numbers and we are seeing a tangible increase in the number of companies now looking to hire temporary or contracting workers over permanent ones.
This will only increase as flexible hires do not require approved headcount (as they are technically outsourced to the service provider) and represent an agile pool of skilled resources.”