Hays in Hong Kong report that the city has been slow to implement big data and cloud computing technologies due to an historical concern over data privacy rights. However, in the last six months, thanks to pronounced governmental encouragement, these areas are being brought to the fore.
The areas that are witnessing the most profound growth are:
• Digital transformation
• Big data
• Cyber security
Since her June inauguration, Hong Kong chief executive Carrie Lam has shown a keen interest in the incubation of the digital technology industry through the allocation of supporting funds for a variety of projects including Science Park, the conjunction of the Pearl River Delta and developing Hong Kong as a Smart City.
“We are seeing a dramatic shift in the Hong Kong market, and it’s extremely exciting,” enthuses Dean Stallard, managing director at Hays Hong Kong and South China. “Previously companies had been prevented by regulations from moving into the cloud, but with those restrictions lifted it affords companies numerous opportunities from a technological perspective.
“This means that we are seeing many more digital transformation roles, for which companies ideally want candidates with cloud or digitalisation experience,” Dean continues. “We started noticing tentative demand for these roles in November of last year, but now there is demand across all industries to fill the positions, and quickly.”
For these candidates it is not only technical skills that are required, but as well as communication skills, creativity is of the utmost importance.
“Here in Hong Kong the majority of the roles comes from a digital innovation perspective,” says Riley King, senior manager of Hays Hong Kong You need to not only be able to work with the analytics and data, but also be able to make the story that the data tells compelling for stakeholders. This is why project managers, digital transformation managers and technology innovation managers are so essential,” says.
“Another key requirement is the ability to think outside of the box. As this form of creativity is not necessarily fostered in large organisations, many companies are turning to the multitude of smaller start-ups to source these innovative thinkers.”
But that is not to say that technical skills are no longer required, far from it. And as the technology is advancing so quickly, it is of high importance that candidates keep up to date with changes in the industry, especially for technical developers.
“In the tech space things are always developing. Whereas in the past it would have been SAS skills that were in demand, now it is a shift towards open sourced languages such as Python and R. To stay on top of these progressions candidates are taking courses on their own volition,” Riley adds.
“Fortunately, in Hong Kong there are a multitude of places at which to educate yourself, and for candidates wanting to advance in the industry I recommend going to networking events such as Meetup where you can learn anything from UX Design to coding to digital marketing. Put yourself out there to learn the new technologies; pick up a new skill and try to find a niche within that area.
“It’s going to be remarkable how much the digital technology industry will change in such a short amount of time; it has already changed so much in this last four months. So you have to be on board with the new technologies to first retain your relevancy, then improve, and eventually progress in your career.”
An overview of what other trends have been observed in Hong Kong’s Digital Technology sector can be viewed below.
• Due to the Mainland China ban on cryptocurrencies, Hong Kong’s geographical and cultural close proximity means that blockchain technology and the related currencies will receive large investment in the coming year.
• Hong Kong companies are keeping a watchful eye on Mainland China’s civilian scoring system to see if it is likely to be adopted in the region.
• With such an active candidate market companies are focusing more and more on retention, with increased pay rises and creative bonus schemes.
• Other retention tactics involve the use of big data analysis to create programs predicting when employees may consider changing roles and offering incentives at these times.
• With Hong Kong lagging behind other countries in big data skills, the acquisition of foreign talent has been encouraged. However, these candidates should not expect much above local rates.