In Focus
FINANCIAL SERVICES, HR & EDUCATION, INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY | Arianna Danganan, Hong Kong
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Up to 4% salary hike awaits tech workers in 2019

The demand will be driven in large part by fintech, as banks apply for their virtual banking licenses.

More companies are beefing up their payrolls in a desperate bid to retain and attract talent. Tech professionals can expect particularly lucrative offers from both startups and multinationals as more financial institutions pour funds into fintech initiatives.

“Talent specialising in cyber and data security is expected to be in high demand as companies seek to keep operational risks in check,” said Ricky Mui, director for legal & compliance and commerce finance & contract division at Robert Walters Hong Kong. “We anticipate an increase in the adoption and integration of technology solutions in financial service institutions, in areas of automation, cloud-based applications and data analytics particularly,” he said.

As a result, sectors such as artificial intelligence, automation and fintech will see salary hikes of up to 3.8% to 4.1%, with both large and small firms willing to pay premium for talent. The demand will be driven in large part by fintech, as banks apply for their virtual banking licenses and are required to comply with e-banking regulations.

Edging out the competition
“The fintech, banking, retail and food & beverages industries along with startups have faced stiff competition under a candidate-short market. Hence, some have on some occasion paid above the market rate to attract talent,” noted Peter KH Chan, talent consultant at Mercer.

Data from business consulting firm KornFerry shows that salary premiums in small markets with limited workforces may hit up to $40,539 annually by 2030 in an effort to retain skilled workers. Hong Kong could expect salary premiums equivalent to more than 10% of their respective 2017 GDPs as companies beef up their payrolls to keep high-demand workers within their teams.

But offering fat paychecks isn’t enough to lure candidates, experts warn.

“Aside from salaries, candidates would also evaluate the whole employment package such as attractive benefits, work-life-balance, employer branding, flexibility, working environment, accelerated career paths and attractive titles that are more superior than large conglomerates or MNCs,” Chan said.

Chan adds that employers will need to be creative to come up with hiring propositions that attract the most active workforce - the millennials - and keep them engaged, Chan noted.

“Employers who are open to integrating popular technologies and platforms into the workplace can have a powerful advantage in attracting and retaining talent – millennials in particular,” Mui echoed.

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