IT sustains power
Information technology (IT) workers made up 3.4 per cent of Hong Kong's workforce in 2012 and the number is forecast to stay steady as the current uncertainty in global financial markets may affect demand for IT manpower.
A total of 78,685 people were employed in the local IT sector in May 2012, according to a recent survey conducted by the Committee on Information Technology Training and Development, part of the Vocational Training Council (VTC), which surveyed 1,611 companies in the industry last year.
At the time, employers reported 1,806 vacancies. While companies remain cautious about the overall economy, they have continued to fill existing vacancies to enhance their competitiveness. Compared with the 2010 survey findings, the vacancy rate has fallen slightly from 2.9 per cent to 2.2 per cent of the respective total numbers of IT posts in 2010 and 2012.
In the survey, employers who had recruited or tried to recruit IT employees in the past 12 months were asked to state the recruitment difficulties they had encountered. Only 2.2 percent of the companies covered by the survey said they had encountered trouble in recruitment.
The survey also showed that in 2011/12, 38.9 per cent of employers had difficulty attracting suitable candidates with the relevant experience, while 23.9 per cent had problems attracting suitable candidates with the relevant skills during recruitment exercises. Meanwhile, 20.3 per cent of employers said candidates found remuneration packages unattractive.
"IT is a fast-changing industry and employers are encouraged to offer their staff a clear career roadmap so they can grow with the company," says Tam Kar-yan, chair professor of information systems, business statistics and operations management at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. Tam is also convenor of the Committee on Information Technology Training and Development's Working Party on Manpower Survey.
"Some companies have been reluctant to provide training because they saw a high turnover rate," Tam says. The turnover rate as a percentage of IT posts has risen from 7.5 per cent in May 2010 to 11.4 per cent in May 2012. "But I believe proper training to cope with the new technology environment is an effective way to retain staff."