Recruitment activity remained healthy for mid to senior-level professionals across the full spectrum of the finance function in the first half of 2015. In particular, financial analysts and FP&A managers were in high demand as companies continued to develop their finance function into business partners to better support decision making. Internal auditors were also highly sought-after as organisations sought to improve their internal control procedures to reduce costs and minimise risks with the increasing regulatory and compliance requirements from the authorities.
The newly and part-qualified accountant recruitment market was active, especially among local conglomerates and companies in the logistics and property sectors. There was a strong demand for junior business analysts who could support the transformation of the finance function, and credit control officers who could help chase debts. Hiring managers also looked for external auditors to manage the growing workload generated by the increasing number of IPO listings in Hong Kong and changes towards organisational structures.
The contract market was buoyant as headcount constraints remained an issue for many employers, leading to an increase of senior-level roles and longer-term positions being offered on contract. More companies also preferred to adopt a 'try-before-you-buy' approach by hiring candidates on a contract basis before extending a permanent offer. Senior financial analysts, business analysts, FP&A managers as well as credit controllers were some of the most sought-after talent for both permanent and contract roles. There was also a high demand for contract treasury professionals due to uncertainty in the global economy and organisations focused on cash positioning and taking advantage of the exchange rate movements.
We anticipate similar hiring trends for the rest of the year. Candidates in financial planning and analysis and auditing will remain the most in-demand as companies continue to upskill their finance functions and improve operational efficiency. However, hiring managers will find it challenging to fill these positions as there is a lack of finance professionals with strong communication skills and business acumen, and many candidates are reluctant to take up auditing positions as they tend to require extensive travelling. Companies will also continue to seek treasury professionals to maintain effective cash flow management.
The limited supply of quality candidates means it is important for companies to offer a competitive salary package to secure top talent. The average salary increment for newly and part-qualified professionals is about 20%. Mid to senior-level professionals can expect an average increase of 8%, with some looking to command 10-15% increments in areas where there is an acute talent shortage. Contractors will expect to receive increments ranging between 10-15%.
For the full report and latest salary information, please click to download the Robert Walters 2015 Hong Kong Market Update - Accounting & Finance.