Blockchain technology is set to have a huge impact on skills demand with the Hong Kong financial services sector according to research from Robert Half. Blockchain, a distributed database used to maintain a continuously growing list of records called blocks, is now part of specific investment plans for 23 per cent of Hong Kong CFOs within the financial services industry. In addition, more than half (52 per cent) are planning to invest in blockchain in the future and 20 per cent admit they should be considering investment despite having no plans for it at the moment.
The overall majority of financial services CFOs (80 per cent) believe blockchain implementation will have an impact on the financial services sector over the next five years – with the positive impacts already being realised in Hong Kong. The survey reveals that 52 per cent of CFOs who have implemented blockchain within their business say it has led to faster transactions and empowered users, while 35 per cent say it has resulted in lower transaction costs and 30 per cent respectively say it has increased transparency and decentralised services.
“Operating within a global trading hub and advantageous geographical region, Hong Kong’s financial services sector needs to adapt to new technological developments as quickly as our regional competitors in order to remain globally competitive,” says Adam Johnston, managing director of Robert Half Hong Kong. “Part of this technological adoption includes the implementation of blockchain technology within the sector, as its decentralised, open architecture connecting consumers and suppliers is set to become a more widely used method for financial transactions in the future.
“Blockchain could potentially encourage Hong Kong’s financial services sector to become much more diverse in its service delivery, helping many financial services companies gain a competitive edge in the market,” he continues. “However, the sector’s ability to fully leverage the benefits of new technology depends on companies’ success in engaging a workforce with the right skills.”
As blockchain gradually becomes more mainstream, so too is the demand for people with the right skills to fully leverage the new technology’s benefits. Hong Kong’s financial services leaders are seeking professionals skilled in trading (40 per cent), trading technology (36 per cent), analytics (35 per cent) and database management (34 per cent).
Closing the skills gap is crucial to prepare for the rise technology, including blockchain – and therein lies the challenge for Hong Kong’s financial services sector. While 64 per cent of Hong Kong CFOs say a skills shortage is the primary reason why it is challenging to find skilled financial services professionals today, more than half (52 per cent) say the general demand for qualified experts outweighs the current supply.
“New technologies require new skills to manage them. Already having to contend with a skills shortage, blockchain implementation is leading companies to become more competitive in their recruitment of professionals with the right skills. In order to stay ahead of the game with the latest technologies, companies will need to boost their staff acquisition strategy to source, attract and retain top financial services professionals,” concluded Adam Johnston.