The trend for Contracting Recruitment in Hong Kong continues to grow rapidly across the Banking sector.
DEMAND FOR CONTRACTORS RAMPS UP
In the past 6 months, junior positions (with less than 4 years’ experience) within banking have converted into contract roles, for operations (middle) to back office positions. There was a high demand in client onboarding, KYC and AML background candidates from banks.
Contracting recruitment for commerce has been increasing from year to year. For the past 6 months, we have seen a demand of contractors within professional service in legal and accounting companies, luxury retail, PR and marketing industries. Most of these contractors possess expertise in financial analysis and accounts receivable, at the Assistant Accountant and manager levels.
MORE PROJECT-BASED HIRES DUE TO RESTRUCTURING AND REGULATION CHANGES
In the coming 6 months, contracting recruitment within Banking will continue to grow as there is a lot of restructuring taking place in the banks. There is also an influx of new projects and regulations, in particular for compliance and remediation projections, and banks will open up more middle and back office contracting roles to support these projects in AML, KYC and compliance. The demand for experienced professionals in those areas will increase. Local, US and investment banks are ramping up their hiring for career starters or those with 1-2 years’ experience to support their projects.
We observe that banks hire contractors initially for projects and to allow for greater flexibility before converting them to permanent hires after good performance. Junior candidates have taken up contracting roles to get their foot through the door at first tier banks, gaining exposure and experience during their stint.
CONSERVATIVE CONTRACTING TREND WITH INCREASED POTENTIAL FOR CONVERSION
In the second half of 2018, we foresee a continuous demand in contracting. The trend will still be relatively conservative compared to a couple of years ago when the economy was booming. We see a trend in the replacement
of resigned permanent employees with contractors. There is an increasing demand for 3-6 months contract with view to permanency. This it gives employers more flexibility and time to evaluate the employee before they become permanent staff.
COMPANIES DEMAND SKILLED TALENT TO HIT THE GROUND RUNNING FAST
Setting up of shared service centres in PRC and APAC also led to a high demand of contractors during the transition period. Replacement roles are more common than new positions with finance and accounting teams. Strong system skills like SAP and Excel are popular or even essential for clients when it came to shortlisting the right candidates. Clients expects contractor to pick up new tasks in a short period of time so solid system experience is definitely an advantage.
In the coming 6 months, contracting recruitment within Banking will continue to grow due to restructuring, new regulations and new projects, especially compliance and remediation projects. Banks will require a lot more middle and back-office contracting roles to support projects in AML, KYC and compliance. Local banks, US banks or Investment banks are also hiring more young professionals with no experience to 1 or 2 years’ experience to help support their projects. There have been many successful cases of contractors being offered permanent roles due to good performance.
Source: Ambition Hong Kong Market Insights H2 2018