Employees in Hong Kong will be more reluctant to switch jobs in 2020, according to a newly released market outlook report by Randstadt Hong Kong. The Sino-US trade war and the instability caused by the ongoing civil unrest has raised doubts about many businesses’ ability to retain their existing workforce, meaning that people who have jobs are unlikely to take the leap for marginal gains in 2020.
The report found that employees are expressing more caution, prioritising job security and overall compensation over factors such as professional development and work-life balance. Furthermore, an increasing number of senior-level professionals are choosing to relocate to markets outside Hong Kong.
This is not the first time the city has faced major brain drain driven by political uncertainties: the more well-known waves of departures include the one following 1989, after the Tiananmen massacre, and the one around 1997, when Hong Kong was officially handed back to China. There have also been ongoing concerns about departures outnumbering new arrivals throughout the last decade.
What this means for employers is that top-level talent and experienced technical workers will be increasingly difficult to find or even to replace internally. The information technology, digital sales and marketing, and life sciences sectors will be particularly hard hit. In the IT sector, 95 percent of fintech companies already face an acute shortage of talent, according to a Michael Page survey from earlier this year. In sales and marketing, few professionals, especially experienced ones, are looking to change jobs, based on the results of the Randstadt survey. And in life sciences, more stringent expectations from employers are further reducing the size of an already-small candidate pool.