HR & EDUCATION | Staff Reporter, Hong Kong

55% of Hong Kong CFOs say skills shortage is top concern

And 34% say increased demand from stakeholders will also be a challenge.

Hong Kong’s financial services sector is bracing for the impact of a growing skills shortage, as independent research commissioned by specialised recruitment company Robert Half confirms the city’s finance leaders think it is the top factor that will shape the sector in 2017.

More than half (55%) Hong Kong Chief Financial Officers (CFOs) say the current skills shortage is the top factor which will impact the financial services sector this year, highlighting the need for companies to proactively address their hiring needs.

In addition to the skills shortage, 2017 will also be shaped by increased demand from stakeholders – both internally and externally, as more than one in three (34%) CFOs forecast managing customer expectations as having the greatest impact on the financial services sector in 2017.

Other top factors for 2017 cited in the survey include technology-driven activities (30%), risk management (28%) and compliance pressures (27%).

Adam Johnston, Managing Director at Robert Half Hong Kong said: “The ‘war for talent’ is set to continue to impact Hong Kong’s financial services sector in 2017. Business leaders can expect increased competition for top banking and insurance talent to affect their hiring processes and staffing policies for the foreseeable future. It’s crucial for employers to take proactive steps to attract and retain quality financial services professionals. An efficient and streamlined hiring process can be instrumental to securing high calibre candidates who often receive multiple job offers.”

“As Hong Kong financial services companies endeavour to become more competitive by addressing the changing consumer landscape and embracing technology, a growing skills gap will certainly be felt in the business community. To address key business priorities, such as new technologies, companies need professionals with adequate skillsets to maintain, develop and optimise innovative business practices,” Adam Johnston added.

“By investing in employee training programs, companies can offset the potential impact of the skills shortage. To maintain ‘business as usual’ or further grow the business during times where companies lack adequately skilled staff, companies would be wise to hire contract and interim managers during peak periods or for special projects. This approach can be highly cost effective and simultaneously injecting fresh ideas into a team. Hiring interim managers also prevents troubling existing employees with higher workloads, which can negatively impact staff morale,” concluded Adam Johnston.

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