Positive outlook for revenue generators
Although there is concern about the ongoing weakness of the United States and European economies, this is not currently translating to headcount reductions in Hong Kong, according to the latest quarterly Michael Page Employment Index.
The online survey is a snapshot of hiring and business confidence trends in the white-collar job market every quarter and is distributed to more than 2,000 hiring managers and senior human resources professionals.
Despite findings that the professional employment market in Hong Kong will continue to perform strongly over the coming months, the survey also found that only 11 per cent of employers expect business conditions to improve, while 37 per cent feel business conditions might decline.
"For those working in international organisations or who are impacted by global economic conditions - the majority of organisations in this part of the world - there is definitely concern," says Anthony Thompson, managing director for Michael Page's Hong Kong and Southern China operations.
However, this concern has not turned into concrete reality and the Hong Kong hiring market will remain healthy throughout the fourth quarter, with 35 per cent of the surveyed employers set to continue recruiting.
"Job numbers remain quite robust and the measures of activity, in terms of hiring, continue to be very positive, although all organisations are closely watching what is happening in the global economy. There has been no material impact," Thompson adds.
However, the current focus of hiring points to some concerns over immediate market conditions. The survey found that 44 per cent of employers are looking to recruit for revenue-generating roles - sales and account-management positions, in particular - while a further 28 per cent are looking for sales-support staff, which is to be expected given that employers are focused on rapidly improving business activity, Thompson says.
"These numbers do reflect a level of concern about what may lie ahead. In more difficult economic situations, the focus tends to swing more towards hiring people who are likely to generate revenue for a company quickly, as opposed to those undertaking a support function," Thompson adds.
"However, if there are going to be substantial increases in revenue generation, there needs to be support staff lined up to do exactly that - support. The gap between the percentage of employers looking to hire revenue generators and support staff will widen if economic conditions worsen," he says.