In Hong Kong, accounting and finance candidates are in prime position to find a new role in the current market, but employers are looking to candidates to explain their motivations beyond just financial reward. This insight has come from Hays in Hong Kong whose managing direct, Dean Stallard explains: “It’s a strong job market for accounting and finance candidates across several areas of banking, insurance and the commercial sector, but competition is always strong for the best jobs so candidates shouldn’t take their interview for granted.
“We know money is a key driver for many candidates,” he continues, “but they should also think about why the job role appeals to them as well as the company culture offered by the employer they hope to join and this requires solid research and preparation.”
According to Stallard there are certainly candidates who are ‘in super high demand’, but employers are still unwavering in the list of qualifications and attributes they expect a candidate to have before offering them a role with possession of strong presentation skills usually on this list.
“Financial planning and analysis (FPA) talent are probably the hottest candidates right now across a range of levels and sectors,” he says. “Project managers able to drive the roll out of IRFS 9 in banks and insurance companies are also in great demand. However, the pool of talent with the exact mix of skills and experience required remains small in Hong Kong.”
Dean’s advice to candidates is to not overplay their hand even if their skill set is in strong demand.
Other observations offered by Dean about Hong Kong’s accounting and finance market include:
1. “Employers are advised not to wait too long when selecting a new recruit as candidates in greatest demand will be fielding other offers.”
2. “Project managers for IFRS 9 implementation projects must have superior leadership, stakeholder management skills and previous experience rolling out a project from beginning to end. They should also have solid technical skills, user experience testing knowledge and excellent communication skills.”
3. “Rates are higher for the right project manager candidates and we are seeing overseas candidates, including Hong Kong returnees, applying for IFRS 9 implementation project manager roles.”
4. “FPAs are in great demand at assistant manager and manager level across retail and FMCG.”
5. “Insurance companies are also looking for FPAs to fill risk management roles.”
6. “In asset management, fund accountants all the way up to senior FPA level are in strong demand.”
7. “Banks are again hiring product control talent after a period of redundancies and outsourcing, but candidates are scare as many left the sector when times were tough.”