Career Advice Job Market Trend Report

Construction industry tops survey of Q3 hiring plans

Hiring intentions are on the rise, according to the latest Manpower Employment Outlook Survey.

At 14 per cent, the "net employment outlook" - the percentage of employers anticipating an increase in employment at their location minus those expecting a decrease - is 5 percentage points higher than that for the preceding quarter, yet still 6 percentage points shy of the Q3 result for 2011.

Of the five industry groups covered by the survey, employers in the mining and construction sector, which in Hong Kong refers solely to the latter, were notably optimistic. Findings pointed to a 19 per cent rise in full-time positions after seasonal adjustments.

Lancy Chui, managing director for ManpowerGroup's Hong Kong, Macau and Vietnam operations, attributes this to the commencement and reactivation of government infrastructure schemes.

"Major projects, such as the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge and the Shatin-to-Central Link, have triggered a surge in demand for labour," she says, noting that experienced architects and engineers will be highly sought-after in the coming months.

Employers in the wholesale and retail-trade group, which has a seasonally adjusted net employment outlook of 18 per cent, were also upbeat. Led by the demand for luxury goods and hotel rooms by mainland visitors, the bulk of openings will likely cater to seasoned frontline executives, says Chui. "These positions remain in short supply in Hong Kong," she adds.

Amid the euro jitters, the finance, insurance and real estate sector was remarkably buoyant relative to recent quarters. On balance, 17 per cent of respondents said they planned to hire in the coming months, with new positions to be introduced across the sector - even at banks.

"While the investment-banking side is quiet, there is still demand for frontline revenue-generators, particularly in [the areas of] consumer banking and personal loans," says Chui. "The banks are not just talking about adding one or two people. Many are looking to set up entire teams."

The services group experienced an equally remarkable turnaround, reporting a year-on-year increase in net employment outlook - the only sector to do so - of 3 percentage points.

Combined with the need for hotel staff, IPO-related openings for lawyers and accountants helped produce a seasonally adjusted net employment outlook of 16 per cent.

The information technology industry helped contribute to this figure, owing to the continued popularity of social media and smartphone applications.

Employers in manufacturing as well as transportation and utilities were the least optimistic. Both, however, reported positive net-employment-outlook figures.