Salary is the strongest motivator in a stretched tech talent market

Technology roles are seeing ever-growing demand

Emigrations and talent mobility restrictions have over the last few years led to intensified competition for technology talent in Hong Kong SAR. However, meeting candidate’s expectations for compensation and career progression could give organisations the edge in keeping and attracting talent, says recruiting experts, Hays.

With the need and enablement of digital transformation having sped up across all sectors and industries in the city over the last few years, organisations have been strengthening their technology and digital applications to enable productivity and capitalise on growth opportunities. Consequently, competition for technology talent has intensified, exacerbated by the pandemic restrictions which not only limited the entry of skilled talent into Hong Kong, but also accelerated the outflow of residents.

Technology roles seeing ever-growing demand typically sit in areas like software engineering, projects and change, data, UX/UI, and cyber security, at every level of seniority. Additionally, business analyst, project managers, and Agile coaching roles are also starting to rise in volume.

Sue Wei, Managing Director at Hays Hong Kong notes that the demand for these roles has quickly overtaken the available supply of skilled talent. “Some organisations have turned to remote or offshore hiring as a temporary solution, but with a gradual relaxation of Covid policies starting from April, those looking to ramp up hiring should give more thought to both their talent attraction and retention strategies.”

Given that it is increasingly common for top talent to have multiple offers on hand, Sue advises employers to strengthen their value proposition.

“More often than not, the final decision comes down to salary. Technology candidates in Hong Kong know their worth and value in the current market and are not hesitant about asking – and going for – the number they want.”

However, Sue notes that there are other factors that could affect a technology candidate’s decision. These include the availability of flexible working patterns, better work-life balance, and opportunities for career progression.

“New opportunities should ideally come with a change in scope or allow candidates to stretch their skills in new areas. And while in between opportunities, work on mastering skills – especially soft skills. Technical capabilities are of course important, but often it’s skills like communication and stakeholder management skills that will set candidates apart.”

An overview of trends in Hong Kong SAR’s Technology sector

  • Companies are pressing ahead with digital adoption and transformation strategies, leading to higher demand for technology talent.
    • The rising demand for technology talent is stretching the skills gap given that the market has been experiencing high levels of emigration.
    • Roles that are seeing high demand volume include: Software Engineer, Support Engineer, Business Analyst, UX/UI Designer, Data Analyst, Cyber Security.
    • Soft skills are becoming more important for tech roles although technical skills are still the most important criteria for employers.
    • Salary is the strongest motivator for candidates, alongside factors like work flexibility and career progression.


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