In Focus
HR & EDUCATION | Staff Reporter, Hong Kong

Wanted: 23% of Hong Kong employers optimistic on hiring

The city's net employment outlook stands favorably at +21% in Q4 2011.

According to ManpowerGroup’s fourth quarter Manpower Employment Outlook Survey, Hong Kong employers anticipate solid payroll gains during Quarter 4 of 2011. Once seasonal variations are removed from the survey data, Hong Kong’s Net Employment Outlook stands favorably at +21%. Hiring prospects remain relatively stable quarter-over-quarter, and the Outlook is 4 percentage point stronger year-over-year.

According to the release, while 23 percent of the 803 employers surveyed expect to add employees in the coming quarter, only 2 percent anticipate a decrease. Seventy percent of those surveyed predict no employment changes in the next quarter. . Hiring prospects remain relatively stable quarter-over-quarter, and the Outlook is 4 percentage point stronger year-over-year.

Employers in all six industry sectors expect to increase staffing levels in Q4 2011. Quarter-over-quarter, hiring prospects improve in three of the six industry sectors. Year-over-year, employers report stronger hiring intentions in four of the six industry sectors.

Solid job growth is forecast in the Finance, Real Estate & Insurance sector, where employers report a Net Employment Outlook of +29%.

Ms. Lancy Chui, Managing Director of ManpowerGroup Hong Kong, Macau and Vietnam operation explained, “Continued growth in Asia, coupled with new, yet tough, banking rules in the U.S. and Europe have combined to provide a pipeline of financial jobs in Hong Kong. In addition, recruitment demand for private and commercial bankers, as well as compliance and risk managers has shown an upward trend.”

“The increasing capital flow from the West to the East continues to drive needs for more financial professionals in Asia. Leading brokerage services firms appear to have the most aggressive hiring plans, primarily in the areas of hedge funds and wealth management talent, as multi-millionaire status in Asia is beginning to grow.”

Employers in the Services sector predict a healthy hiring pace with an Outlook of +26%, a noteworthy improvement of 13 percentage points when compared to last quarter.

The fourth quarter hiring expectations in the Mining and Construction sector continue to forecast an upbeat hiring pace, with an Outlook of +23%. Hiring intentions remained steady both quarter-over-quarter and year-over-year.

“According to the Transport and Housing Bureau data, construction started on 4,700 private-sector flats in Q2, indicating an eventual supply of more flats to the market and, by extension, a drive in hiring to cope with the forthcoming business demand, including demand for quantity surveying talent whose roles are critical in cost control,” added Ms. Chui.

Job prospects continue to remain at upbeat in the Wholesale & Retail Trade sector (+20%) despite a moderate decrease of 6 percentage points quarter-over-quarter and a slight decrease of 2 percentage points year-over-year.

Employers in the Manufacturing sector anticipate a steady fourth quarter hiring pace, reporting an upbeat Outlook of +15%. However, Ms. Chui notes many other factors that could potentially influence employer hiring intentions in the future: “The fragile recovery of the U.S. and Europe remain the key sources of downside risks to the consumer demand from these countries which continued to soften hiring intentions in the Manufacturing sector.”

Hiring intentions of the Transportation & Utilities sector remained steady at +14%, remaining unchanged quarter-over-quarter while improving 6 percentage points year-over-year.

Ms. Chui commented, “The recent exports of goods decelerated noticeably, dragged by the slowdown in the global / regional supply chains arising from the Japan incident and also by slowing growth momentum in many export markets.”

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