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Hiring in Hong Kong: Guide and Trends in 2024

The job market in Hong Kong has faced significant challenges in 2023, amidst concerns of a global recession, higher interest rates, economic headwinds in China, and the domestic economic slowdown. Companies have adopted a conservative approach and focused on cost control strategies, with longer interview processes and more layers of approvals/discussions before offers can be made to potential candidates.  In the meantime, professionals are prioritising job security when considering job moves.

However, there are signs of potential marginal improvements in 2024 compared to 2023, indicating a slow recovery, according to John Mullally, Managing Director at Robert Walters Hong Kong.

Read on to find out more about John’s expectations for Hong Kong’s hiring market in 2024.

Generalisation of roles in market

Hiring is predominantly at the mid-level positions throughout 2023. Departures and downsizing at senior levels have led to those roles being staffed with more junior candidates (e.g. replacing directors with vice presidents). This trend reflects an overall desire among companies to reduce costs by replacing senior roles with candidates one level of seniority below. Companies are increasingly recognising the importance of hiring and nurturing young professionals, given the shortage of talent among junior and middle-level candidates.

At the same time, there is a growing demand for generalised roles, where employers are more inclined to hire individuals who possess a wider range of skills and experiences instead of seeking specialised roles. This allows companies to fill multiple roles with a single hire, maximising their resources and addressing the talent shortage issue.

More contract hiring in 2024

Organisations have been more cautious - instead of committing to long term talent strategies, many have been utilising contingent workers to bridge the gap.

In a skills-short market, where the only constant is change, companies are recognising the need for talent who possess the ability to adapt and learn quickly. By hiring individuals on a contract basis, organisations have the flexibility to adjust their workforce according to the evolving needs of the business. This enables them to quickly assess a candidate's specialised skills for specific projects and make sure the candidate fit within the organisation before making a long-term commitment.

On the other hand, contract positions provide candidates a chance to gain experience, expand their skillsets, and potentially transition into permanent roles.

Technology and AI to lead talent demand

In 2024, technology, particularly A.I. and machine learning, will remain in high demand among employers. Companies were looking to A.I. to deliver improvements in productivity and increasing automation of processes. Candidates with a deep understanding of building and utilising A.I. models are highly sought after.

More employers in Hong Kong have either explored or are currently exploring the use of AI models to replace routine tasks or administrative work.

Marginal salary growth while the recruitment market slowly recovers

In 2024, the average of the salary ranges of professionals in Hong Kong are projected to remain relatively stagnant. Job movers can look forward to salary increments of between 5-10%

However, market conditions are expected to slowly improve in 2024 and there seems to be more optimism in terms of hiring volume.

The market is slowly improving, although employer and candidate confidence remains quite fragile. While the increase in numbers hired may not be significant, we anticipate a slight improvement to the recruitment market in 2024.


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Request access to our 2024 Salary Survey to benchmark salaries and to find out more about key hiring trends in Hong Kong.

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John Mullally

John Mullally

Hong Kong Hong Kong

John has over 15 years of recruitment and general management experience in Hong Kong and Southern China.. Currently he serves as the Managing Director for Hong Kong's business.

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