The Hong Kong Recruitment Market needs a shake-up

Posting date:24 Oct 2019

Eight weeks ago, I moved to Hong Kong and it already feels like home. 

Having spent seven years working across the UK IT Recruitment Sector I decided it was time for a change and so I packed a bag and said goodbye to Cardiff. 

I was expecting to undergo some transitionary period; a culture shock you could say, but with a thriving social scene, diverse culture and millions of people from all walks of life on your doorstep, it was an easy move.

There was however, one difference and that was 
the contract market in Hong Kong. It remains to be behind anything I have ever seen in the UK and despite there being a huge skills shortage with more positions than people, the contracting market is frowned upon and contractors are thought of as professionals unable to get a permanent role rather those seeking career diversity.

What also struck me as strange was the fact that contractors in Hong Kong receive the same salary as those in permanent employment which removes the financial reward that comes hand-in-hand with the Interim world of work in the UK and removing the attraction to it as a result.

While I understand the benefits of permanent employment, I also see the necessity for contract work - especially in the technology and digital world where a variety of cultures means for an abundance of Hong Kong narrative speakers and a real language barrier.

I’ve found that international businesses in the tech space are absolutely fine, the likes of Facebook, Netflix and Google. But, it’s the local businesses that are really suffering. If these employees were contractors, coming in to complete a programme or implementation and then leaving it would be fine but these are permanent employees, not able to communicate with their employers.

The biggest issue is that local businesses in desperate need of technological help are putting their needs on hold to find the perfect person with the technological and social competencies but it’s slowing them down and depriving them of the top tier of technical talent.

While this issue appears not to be a new one, I am keen to speak to my new network in Hong Kong to hear your views on contracting and see if you are open-minded to hiring on an Interim basis to fill the skills-gap?