Gloom And Doom

Quarter 1 2016: Is it all Doom & Gloom in the Job Market?

Published on 27th March 2016

No, it is not!    


Well that was a short article!  Seriously, though, one of the questions a recruiter is asked multiple times every day is “How’s the Market?” Although a relatively innocuous question there are often an incredibly complex set of economic, social and political issues that impact the answer.  There is no question that the turmoil and volatility in global stock markets as well as extensive global media coverage on the slowdown in the growth of the mainland economy does impact employment markets not only here in Hong Kong but also worldwide. However, from Ambition’s perspective, whilst we have seen a relatively cautious start to the year across some industry sectors, overall what is clear is that the majority of employers do remain committed to hiring in 2016. In fact, the number of new mandates Ambition are working on is comparable to the same time last year and the number of job seekers looking for new roles has remained stable. What is also abundantly clear is that job seekers in Hong Kong remain open to good opportunities and our key challenge is still sourcing sufficient volumes of high-quality professionals to fill the mandates we are working on.

In Quarter 1 2016, within sectors such as luxury retail and banking we have seen employers adopting a more rigorous recruitment policy and lengthening of recruitment processes. These indicate a slightly higher degree of caution around the future economic outlook. However, what we have also seen is there are pockets of very high recruitment activity, and many employers view a slight softening of the employment market as an opportunity to recruit talent that, perhaps, they may not have had access to in a more buoyant job market. We continue to see a very high demand for Digital Marketing, Mobile Technologies and Fintech professionals; professionals such as Mobile Developers with iOS and Android skills, Digital Marketing experts, Content managers, e-commerce professionals, Data Analytic specialists and SEO/SEM experts are some of the most sought after candidates in HK.

IT security specialists are also in high demand with IT security and compliance high on the agenda for many organisations. FinTech, in particular, is a hot sector with demand for high-quality project managers and business analysts (especially those with Change Management experience) to deliver these large scale projects on time and to budget high and expected to continue into 2016.  The demand for contracting professionals, across Commerce and Industry, Financial Services and Technology sectors was high in Q1 and we expect this to continue. Elsewhere within Financial Services, demand for compliance especially those with AML/sanctions experience, Audit & Risk is as high as ever.

Across the commerce and industry sector in Q1, demand for entry to mid-level finance & accounting professionals with strong accounting and/or financial analytical skills coupled with excellent business acumen has remained stable and although economic factors always play a key role in hiring plans, the requirement for high-quality sales professionals who can add top line revenue to a business remains strong across the majority of industry sectors here as well.

So, in answer to the question I posed in the title of the article….No! It is not all doom and gloom and in fact, there are some great job opportunities out there for qualified professionals or for employers looking to secure exceptional talent!

If you are interested in learning more about Ambition, how we can assist you sourcing high-quality talent, securing a new role or perhaps are interested in a career in recruitment in Hong Kong please get in touch at