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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.


  • The US economy grew by 3.2% in the third quarter of 2017, outperforming original forecasts of 2.5%. This growth has, and is expected to continue having, a positive effect on the global economy.

  • In contrast, the UK grew at 0.4% in the third quarter of 2017, a slower pace than last year. It is clear that the weaker pound and Brexit are still weighing heavily on the economic sentiment, with forecasters predicting the annual growth rate for 2017 to be 1.5%, its worst since the depths of the recession in 2009.

  • China reported a 6.8% growth rate in the third quarter of 2017, a fraction lower than the second quarter’s 6.9% expansion, and forecasters predict it will drop slightly lower this year.

  • Due to many businesses expanding their operations, the Hong Kong market picked up steam in the second half of 2017, with greater hiring activity of, not only replacement hires, but new headcounts as well.

  • There has been a revival of retail sales in Hong Kong in 2017, with growth of 3.9% recorded in October and 7.5% in November, which is reflective of increased tourism. 


  • The payment industry, including credit card and payment fintech companies, has been busy recruiting talent to help with the increasing demand within the m-commerce and e-commerce space. Specifically, within this space, there has been a talent shortage in the areas of product development, product marketing, account servicing, business development and solutions delivery.

  • In addition, there has been a boom in credit risk analytics, fraud prevention information services and software solution providers. This has resulted in a growing need for professionals with big data, analytics and sales experience.

  • The retail and travel industries continue to invest heavily in digital sales & marketing, especially initiatives relating to increasing global brand awareness and expanding online sales channels, both of which have a positive effect on a business's top line. Furthermore, there has been a shift of focus with retailers who are now directing their marketing efforts to local consumers and VIP’s as opposed to relying on tourists.

  • Heritage brands have been looking at brand transformation, modernisation and rejuvenation in order to keep abreast of competition, which have included disruptive start-ups. This shift in dynamics has led to restructuring and, as such, replacement and new hires have been the priority for these companies.

  • Data visualisation and cloud-based solution providers are the preferred employers for candidates in the IT, telcommunications and technology sectors, where companies compete to create innovative technology, products and services.


  • Salaries are expected to increase this year by around 4%, while high performers can expect more as companies place greater emphasis on retention strategies.

  • Bonuses within the retail, consumer and hospitality sectors are expected to fall between 10 and 20%, whereas bonuses within the insurance, payment and technology sectors will be slightly higher, hovering around 15 to 30%.


  • Retail sales are expected to grow in 2018, which means that the outlook for hiring sales and marketing professionals is positive.

  • 2018 will be another year greatly influenced by transformation, innovation, AI and disruptive start-ups.

  • Digital marketing roles, including online advertising, social media, performance measurement, retargeting and search marketing, all of which drive online traffic and sales conversion, will continue to be at the forefront for many companies.

  • Digital marketing on mobiles and social applications integrated with augmented reality will surge in popularity in 2018. Brands will continue to invest in social media and influencer marketing but will favour user-generated content that feels more natural and will include existing customers in their marketing campaigns. Making consumers feel part of the brand story and buyer experience will be key.

  • Data-driven marketing and decision making are becoming powerful marketing tools, so candidates who are savvy in big data analytics and technology will be highly sought this year, together with professionals with sales experience who can help sell related solutions.


For more information or individually tailored advice, please do not hesitate to contact our regional Sales & Marketing team:

Hong Kong Office - please contact Brenda Choy

Singapore Office - please contact Karen Yap

Shanghai Office - please contact Johannes Tan

Beijing Office - please contact Ming Ming


Brenda Choy, Associate Director, Profile Search & Selection


January 2018