HR & EDUCATION | Staff Reporter, Hong Kong

Employers struggle to secure preferred candidates as digital tech hiring booms

They're also competing with employers in China.

Hong Kong’s digital technology sector is experiencing strong hiring activity across a range of areas with employers facing stiff competition to secure preferred candidates, according to Hays.

Employers should be aware they’re not only competing with companies in Hong Kong but also other regional players including mainland China’s own ‘Silicon Valley’ in Shenzhen.

According to the latest figures from the Census and Statistics Department, in 2015, the total innovation-related expenditure of the Hong Kong business sector amounted to US$2.2 billion (less than one per cent of GDP) - up 3 per cent year-on-year. Some 7,344 companies were engaged in technology R&D during the census survey period.

However, the comparable 2015 R&D budget in Shenzhen was RMB73 billion (US$10 billion) – 3.4 per cent of that city’s GDP. R&D investment levels were even higher in South Korea and Taiwan.

“Hong Kong has worked hard for its reputation as one of the world’s top digital technology hubs and definitely one of the best fintech centres, but other regional centres are vying to be the best also,” explains Dean Stallard, Regional Director of Hays in Hong Kong.

“Being the best means attracting strong investment not just in dollars, but also in human capital and this is where Hong Kong is doing some fine work,” says Dean.

“There is no doubt Hong Kong’s collaboration between industry, academia, government and investment is impressive and paying major dividends for digital talent in the form of thousands of world-class jobs,” he says.

“We are fortunate to have many well supported incubator, accelerator and start up programs and initiatives growing the talent market Hong Kong needs, but we are still seeing jobs far outnumber qualified candidates.”

“As a result, some of the larger banks are hiring cyber security experts from outside banking and training them up to adapt to the industry. And we are also seeing IT professionals undertaking study to gain certifications to cross into business intelligence (BI) where there are simply not enough people to fill the roles,” he says.

“By its very nature, technology is global and so organisations here will continue to compete not only in the race to be first to a new idea, but also to secure and retain the best people to prototype and commercialise those ideas.” 

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