Career Advice Job Market Trend Report

Morgan McKinley Salary Guide 2019 - IT Contract

Commentary on IT Roles and Contract Rates in Hong Kong for 2019

The IT contracting market in Hong Kong remained appealing in 2018 for technically skilled and experienced candidates as demand for contingent talent continued to rise. Overall, Hong Kong’s contracting market remained buoyant with a year-on-year increase of 20%.

While contracting is yet to reach maturation in Hong Kong, the technical demands of companies in the market continue to rise and more organisations begin to undertake digital transformation projects. Hiring managers will continue to rely on a contingent IT workforce to augment full-time staff and bring expertise or niche skills to a team. Financial services, e-commerce, communications and organisations in the industrial space, in particular, are likely to increase their contract headcount to accommodate for fast-moving industry changes.

In-Demand Roles, Skills and Qualifications for Hong Kong IT Contractors

Demand for development roles, particularly application and front-end development, was a leading trend in 2018 and one expected to continue in 2019 as digitisation, e-commerce and new technologies transform every market sector. Contract talent with particular skills in C#, Python and Excel VBA were highly sought after, and Javascript remained the most in-demand programming language in 2018.

As organisations look to shape software development decisions to improve business outcomes, business analysts will continue to be in demand across industries. Project managers will remain fundamental as companies become increasingly reliant on technology, maintain their efforts to deliver superior products and services and instigate workflows for small and medium-sized projects, as well as large-scale transformations.

While application and front-end developers need to possess a range of hands-on experience and technical skills in the relevant programming language, project managers can set themselves apart with certifications as well as a range of successfully completed initiatives under their belt. Across the board, hiring managers are looking for IT contract candidates with a few core soft skills, including strong communications skills and the ability to distil complex, technical topics into everyday language. The ability to successfully run meetings, influence stakeholders and stay adaptable to project requirements is also an asset.

Workplace Trends Impacting the IT Contractor Market in Hong Kong

The current environment for IT contractors is one of opportunity. As demand continues to rise, IT talent is for the most part in the driving seat. The number of companies looking to fill both technical and functional IT roles is set to increase, and departments are expected to draw on contractors to fill gaps and complete specific projects. Across every industry, companies are undertaking digital transformation projects and contingent workers are a good fit to supply niche skills and help these organisations adapt to changing business requirements.

As employers become more open-minded towards the talent they hire, there is also a steady shift towards more flexible workplaces. 2018 saw an increased desire for workplace flexibility from candidates across industries. Employers are attempting to lure contract talent by providing flexible hours, a positive company culture and promoting work-life balance, alongside other perks such as unlimited holidays. This is set to continue, particularly working from home trends and flexible work schedules, which are much sought-after by younger generations.

IT Contracting: Predictions for 2019 and Beyond

In 2019, the market for IT contractors in Hong Kong will remain buoyant with demand set to surge. The supply of appropriate candidates will continue to be a challenge and many organisations will have to extend their search into other markets like Greater China to source high-quality talent with the right technical skills and backgrounds.

While there is much chatter around disruptive technologies such as artificial intelligence and Blockchain, these advancements have not yet reached the doorstep of the majority of Hong Kong organisations and are not expected to radically impact recruitment in the near future.

While contractor salaries generally remained flat in 2018, the high demand for developers is expected to push contract salaries up by 10 – 20% in the coming year. We expect salaries to inflate fast in the next 18 months as a surge in demand meets a small pool of candidates, and demand for contract IT talent outstrips supply.


All Figures shown are in HK$

Source: Morgan McKinley Salary Guide 2019