Sand M Update

2016 Sales & Marketing Industry Update

Published on 25th September 2016

Recruitment for sales and marketing professionals remain steady throughout Q1, Q2 and Q3 in 2016 despite uncertainties across a number of key industries in Hong Kong. 

The retail sector is experiencing yet another challenging year in 2016 and we expect this to continue throughout most of 2017. The luxury segment in particular, is going through one of the toughest times in years due to the significant decrease in demand in China. The sharp drop in inbound tourists in Hong Kong this year has also impacted spending on goods and services, further affecting the overall retail climate. However, these changes have brought opportunities to other parts of retail such as fast fashion, sports and lifestyle, beauty and cosmetics and consumer technology. Many businesses in these categories are looking to invest, opening new flagship stores and taking full advantage of lower rent across prime retail locations. Candidates with strong retail operations and marketing experience will find attractive opportunities to advance their careers.

For Services industries, many businesses seek to consolidate roles, especially in business support. Teams are streamlining and operating leaner and there have been fewer new headcounts created in 2016 as a result of this. On the other hand, startups, especially those with a focus online, are actively expanding and recruiting in Hong Kong. These companies, either home grown or foreign, enter the market at various stages and for every success, there are dozens of failures, but nonetheless the true entrepreneurs are undeterred in pursuing their business ideas. Fintech is also a sector that is on the rise. While the term is broadly used, we describe it as companies that use technology to make financial services more efficient. They offer a wide range of services and specialization including payments, planning, trading and investment, leading and corporate finance, security, insurance as well as data and analytics. Many Fintech startups see Hong Kong and Singapore as ideal incubators in paving the way for future regional and international expansions.  

The shortage of qualified candidates remains a trend across most services sectors. Highly sought after candidates will still receive multiple offers and options. The alarming trend of companies lengthening interview and decision-making processes means that companies who aren’t decisive in their hiring strategies lose out on high calibre talent. Consultative solution sales people with a proven track record, extensive industry network, fluent English with one or more Asian language skills (in particular Mandarin) continue to be in high demand. Online and digital professionals from established Financial Institutions through to Consumer Goods companies – whether eBanking, online payment, or e-retailers will also find themselves with plenty of options in the job market. 

In summary, Hong Kong is still a portal for foreign businesses looking to enter China but the reverse is also truer than ever now with many high profile Mainland Chinese companies taking it to the international stage. As a result, candidates with experience working in, or with China, will find themselves in high demand.