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Contract workers on the rise in Hong Kong’s job market

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With a gloomy economic outlook, more local employers are turning towards hiring contract workers to save cost, according to the 2017 Hong Kong Salary & Employment Outlook by Michael Page.

The report, based on surveys of 583 local employers, found that more than half had hired contract workers on 12 to 18 months contact over the past year. 45% of employers said they had offered contract workers a full-time job.

According to the report, the talent shortage in IT and finance industries has caused employers to offer contract workers higher salaries than the full-timers. Contract workers are also provided with annual leave, medical benefits, and in some cases an end of contract bonus.

Sharmini Wainwright, managing director at Michael Page predicts the accounting, finance, and IT sectors will continue to hire contract workers.

HR hiring prospects

The human resources landscape in Hong Kong is dominated by the accelerated growth of technology businesses and increased prominence of Chinese-headquartered businesses, which place pressure on the supply of highly qualified talent management professionals in the market.

Medium-sized companies are hiring more HR generalists rather than specialists in order to streamline costs. The most highly sought-after HR professionals continue to be those who can partner with businesses to further their priorities and provide tangible value as opposed to those who adopt a ‘service centre’ mindset.

In addition, candidates who can demonstrate a track record of working with multiple large-scale HRIS systems will be at an advantage, as Hong Kong organisations generally look to transition their manual systems to more sophisticated and digital platforms.

Overall Hong Kong hiring prospects

Hiring activity in large Hong Kong-listed companies has remained resilient, although the quality threshold for new hires has increased. Multinationals have seen a decline in permanent hiring activity as these international brands continue to battle for headcount approval with headquarters.

35% of employers surveyed are expected to increase headcount. 63% of employers who plan to increase headcount say that their organisations are actively seeking mid-level employees.

With regards to pay, 58% of Hong Kong employers expect to increase salaries by less than 5% in the next 12 months for managerial to senior-level employees.

ALSO READ: Hong Kong salary outlook 2017: Up to HK$1.5m per annum for HR directors

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