Commentary on Marketing Roles and Remuneration in Hong Kong for 2019
2019 Hong Kong Marketing Salary Guide
2018 was a strong year for marketing professionals in Hong Kong. Overall, there was positive growth in all sectors, including retail, finance, tech, telecommunications, professional services and FMCG. With low unemployment in the city, it’s a job seekers market and marketing professionals showed increased confidence. In the e-commerce and FinTech sectors in particular, there was a notable growth in the number of new positions and hires.
We expect continued growth for marketing positions in 2019, with digital marketing, data and analytics and content marketing experiencing the largest hiring increases. With innovative startups, FinTech and e-commerce companies growing in number and vying for talent, workplace culture is undergoing a transformation towards increased flexibility and work-life balance. Organisations are becoming more open-minded towards flexible hours, working from home and even offering attractive perks to set themselves apart from the rest.
In-Demand Roles, Skills and Qualifications for Hong Kong Marketing Professionals
The FinTech payments sector is growing rapidly with a number of key players from Mainland China as well as local banks and telecommunications operators each fighting to gain market share. These companies are aggressively hiring for merchant growth and customer growth positions, including product development and project management positions, which have all seen growth year-on-year.
While in 2016 and 2017 Hong Kong’s retail market faced decline due to dwindling tourist numbers, 2018 saw the sector bounce back, particularly in the area of mass retail products, including FMCG. While overall we see growth in Hong Kong’s retail market, disruptive technology and shopping trends are driving customers towards online and e-commerce over physical stores. As retailers experience decreasing revenue from physical stores, many major players in Hong Kong are keen to move out of the city and close their brick-and-mortar stores due to sky-high rental costs.
With trends moving from offline to online, it’s natural for the candidate pool to become more online-focused. Retail and FMCG companies are looking to hire candidates with a strong understanding of the e-commerce market. With payments taking place across borders, candidates that possess knowledge of not only the local Hong Kong market but cross-border payment strategies in Greater China and APAC will set themselves apart from the competition. Many organisations have a desire to expand revenue streams to new markets, and marketing candidates with specialisms in cross-border strategy, digital marketing, logistics, warehouse inventory, operations and diverse payment gateways will be increasingly sought after.
Workplace Trends Impacting Marketing Professionals in Hong Kong
A growing number of internet and mobile businesses and startups are spearheading a change in workplace culture in Hong Kong. Those experiencing strong growth are quickly attracting talent with flexible working hours, attractive perks and work-life balance. It’s not uncommon to hear these companies allow employees to work from home and offer attractive benefits such as unlimited annual leave, fitness perks and meal allowances to set themselves apart in the war for talent. In a knock-on effect, we are seeing some of the bigger conglomerates and retail chains consider how to incorporate more flexible working arrangements into their own business models to attract talent.
Hong Kong’s unemployment rate is currently one of the lowest in recent years, with just 2.8 percent unemployment in Q4 2018. This shortage of talent has prompted organisations and hiring managers to become more open-minded towards part-time and contract positions compared to previous years. We expect this trend to continue moving forward.
What Does the Future Hold for Marketing Professionals? Predictions for 2019 and Beyond
Digital marketing talent will continue to be in high demand through 2019. As well as candidates with skills in web and app development, there will be an increased need for social media talent, particularly those possessing knowledge of local market platforms and their nuances.
Marketers with proficiency in data and analytics, in particular, those that can think critically and gather insights to strategise content, creative campaigns and marketing initiatives, will be increasingly sought-after.
2019 will also see higher demand for content generation and development. This is firstly in the form of high-quality written content, where native English and Simplified Chinese copywriters will thrive. Secondly in the form of content generation across multimedia, from photography to video to written content, which will become ever more important for brands and organisations. We expect to see demand for content marketing and content development become a priority across the automotive, travel and property sectors, and even within government-related organisations.
While salaries in 2019 are expected to remain stable, a slight increase of between 3 - 6 percent is expected for internal salary review and adjustments. Job movers can expect increments of 10 - 20 percent, with exceptions for those with niche or specialist digital and tech skills who can command salary increases of up to 20 percent when switching organisations.
All Figures shown are in HK$