The following report provides an update on the key trends that we have observed within the Sales & Marketing job market in Hong Kong. It identifies emerging themes across various industries and details the major factors impacting hiring and talent movement.
Hong Kong’s economy was sluggish last year due to a variety of factors, including Brexit, the recent US presidential election result, volatility in financial markets, a lower level of inbound tourism and China’s anti-corruption campaign, all of which have directly affected the hospitality, consumer and retail sectors.
Hong Kong’s economy expanded by 1.4% year-on-year in the first three quarters of 2016. The unemployment rate remained stable for the period ending September 2016, at 3.5%, a similar rate for the same period in 2015. 47.6% of the unemployment population in 2016 were retrenched, up from 6.7% in 2015. The forecast for consumer inflation for 2017 is 2.4%.
Inbound tourism suffered last year, with the total number of visitors dropping by 5.4% between January and November 2016, and by 8.7% of those visiting from mainland China, compared to a year earlier, according to the Hong Kong Tourism Board.
E-commerce, front-end digital marketing and digital transformation roles continue to be in high demand across the consumer, retail and insurance sectors, and within financial institutions.
More and more companies are creating additional headcount and employing talent with digital solutions, big data analytics as well as customer and user experience to cater to the new age customer.
In today’s market where maximising leads and profitability are top of mind for companies, professionals with a stellar track record in business development continue to be in high demand, while hiring activity within the account management and channel sales functions remains stable.
Consumer and retail industries have recorded a continuous decline in sales and have struggled to maintain profitability, yet there has been encouraging growth within the e-commerce and m-commerce channels.
The insurance sector was one of the better performing sectors last year, life insurance companies in particular. This is a result of companies achieving strong sales, making ambitious investments in digital marketing strategies, and updating old systems to advanced technologies.
Another sector that saw robust growth last year was technology. This can be attributed to the fact that the Hong Kong government increased funding and support to this sector.
There has been great traction around fintech and start-ups, with a recent Accenture research report stating that investment in the fintech space has grown in APAC from USD880 million in 2014 to USD4.3 billion in 2015. The majority of innovations were related to mobile payment solutions and P2P money transfers.
Internet of Things (IoT) and Machine-to-Machine digitisation are both very topical right now, with a high number of businesses recruiting Solution Architects and Consultants who specialise in this field. In contrast, demand for interactive digital marketing talent has slowed.
Retail banks are constantly seeking new technology to improve the customer experience in their branches as well as online.
Asset management firms in the financial services sector are starting to augment their digital marketing team in Asia. Hiring activity within this space will grow.
SALARIES & BONUSES
Salary increases in 2016 have fallen somewhere between 3% to 4.5% for average performers, although some underperforming companies have chosen not to increase salaries, or have frozen them altogether. Top performers however were rewarded accordingly.
Bonuses handed out in the consumer and retail sectors were poor. It has been common to see companies that did not record a profit pay bonuses of only up to 5%, while better performing companies and sectors, such as technology, paid bonuses in the vicinity of 10% to 15%. Insurance companies were the exception, with bonuses ranging from 15% to 40%.
In terms of performance, sectors related to payment solutions (fintech; technology, particularly cloud/connectivity) and the insurance industry are expected to thrive this year. In contrast, the outlook for the consumer products, retail and luxury sectors will not be as positive.
Despite the economy being subdued, companies will continue to place importance on customer-centric strategies and invest in the latest technology. As a result, new roles will be created to cater towards this growing trend.
Candidates with a background in digital marketing, encompassing front to back end, will continue to be in high demand in 2017.
The hunt for marketers who are tech-savvy and can think outside of the box will continue this year.
Businesses will continue to recruit business development specialists in 2017, especially those with a proven track record in driving sales and profitability