1st Quarter of 2022 – An Overall Macro View
- The worsening COVID situation in Hong Kong continued to further stretch an already-stretched candidate talent market. This was further exacerbated by candidates continuing to leave Hong Kong (many without jobs) to relocate overseas.
- Although the living-with-COVID strategy that Singapore implements has meant more freedom for residents there, getting visas for expats to work in Singapore has not gotten any easier.
- Despite the COVID situation plus geopolitical issues that the world continues to face, the demand for technologists has not shown any signs of easing. Candidates are barely on the market for more than a month and usually receive multiple offers and possibly counteroffers as the war for good tech talent continues to go on unabated.
Overview of some of the sectors
- Finance Technology:
- While it is true that many have been leaving Hong Kong for greener pastures in Singapore (BAML, Citi), in our experience, this appears to be common only among the senior ranks. The demand for rank and file developers still needs to be mainly fulfilled only by Singapore PRs or citizens due to government policies.
- The demand for developers (full-stack, Java, C++, python, C#) continues to be very strong. Despite news about the exodus of talent from Hong Kong, companies are still expanding their presence in Hong Kong (particularly in Wealth Management) and are looking to hire strong hands-on technologists. As many banks still continue to grow their technology presence in Hong Kong, we are also seeing an increased demand for senior management hires (ED, MD, Head of Divisions) compared to previous years which is normally quite rare.
- Several of the leading investment banks are expanding their teams to facilitate growth across their China and regional (Japan, SEA) businesses. As headcount approvals can oftentimes be a very protracted process, the demand for contracting has grown substantially, particularly for project management, infrastructure, and development roles. Permanent conversion rates have also been very high over the past 12 months. The trend of contracting will likely grow even further as the calendar year progresses.
- There was also a strong demand for technologists in the crypto trading space, across software development (node.js/java/C++/python), application support, QA, and infrastructure. Candidates with strong security knowledge have also been sought after. Various firms are looking to fill these headcounts in both Hong Kong and Singapore.
- Overall, bonus payouts across the banking industry have been better than the previous year.
- Insurance Technology:
- Insurance firms have been rebounding after better business results in 2021. The average business score which determines the bonus figure was greater than 100 compared to 90-100 in the previous year. Insurance firms have been focusing on digital enhancement and bancassurance partnerships which have been major revenue growth drivers.
- Insurance firms have also been investing heavily in advanced technologies like Artificial Intelligence, NLP, Machine Learning, and Big Data Analytics. Previously, they were mainly hiring from competitors but we have been observing that they have now extended the search for the right candidates to consultancies, banks, and unicorn-type start-ups.
- Commerce Technology:
- Despite COVID tightening rules in Hong Kong, some of the large enterprises have taken this as an opportunity to expand their digital and e-commerce capabilities to cope with business interruptions. We foresee increased hiring in the digital and chatbot space.
Lastly, we are humbled to have been chosen as the Best IT & Technology Recruitment Firm by Jobs DB. We are grateful for all the support we have had from our candidates and clients and look forward to an even brighter future!
Hope you find this information useful.
Vince Natteri, Managing Director
(on behalf of the Pinpoint Asia Recruitment Team)