Hong Kong Outlook

At the onset of 2016, most were cautious about the impact that China’s economic slowdown would have on Hong Kong. But now that we’re more than halfway through the year, the slow down impact can be seen or felt across many businesses. Organisations are behaving cautiously about adding headcount or backfilling positions, first wanting to see whether internal employees can close the gap.

The Banking & Finance and Consumer Goods and Retail industries are the hardest hit, experiencing the most slowdown, while the IT & Telecommunications and Insurance sectors appear to be having a better time riding the downturn.

What does this mean for HR?

HR is evolving at a rapid pace and a lot of organisations are keen to maximise their HR ROI. We expect that most MNC organisations will continue the trend of strengthening operational and transactional HR to make it cost-effective as well as upgrading their overall HR functions to operate at a more strategic/management level that understands business drivers and become “true” business partners.

Talent acquisition is a hot area right now and we expect this to continue. More emphasis will be placed on making this a strategic alliance between HR and the business by focusing on talent pipelining and employer branding. Another area that is in high demand is Learning and Development as organisations look to keep their current employee population’s skillsets competitive with the marketplace.

Employees are also feeling the uncertainty and are hunkering down as opposed to seeking out new opportunities. Organisations are looking for top talent who can hit the ground running, while employees are making more strategic, cautious moves.

We haven’t seen the economic slowdown drastically affecting salaries, however. We expect salaries will remain stable, with normal annual increases for the majority of the workforce. High performers with language skills, MNC experience, and in-demand skills will experience the largest hikes in pay increases. As always, employees joining a new company receive a healthy increase to help attract the right candidates.

While the Hong Kong market is indeed slower than previous years, the HR market is still experiencing healthy movements. Hong Kong remains one of the top global destinations for high calibre people to come work. Many MNCs have their regional headquarters there and despite the slowdown, they remain positive for the future.