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Hong Kong – Shortage of sales representatives, technicians, and engineers

20 August 2013

ManpowerGroup Hong Kong today released the results of its eighth annual Talent Shortage Survey. As the global talent shortage continues to intensify, 57% of employers in Hong Kong are experiencing difficulty finding staff with the right skills, an increase from 35% in 2012. Hong Kong employers report a considerably more pronounced talent shortage than their global peers, 35% of whom report difficulty in filling vacancies, the highest level since prior to the global economic crisis.

Of the 424 Hong Kong employers surveyed, 86% recognise that talent shortages have a high or medium impact on their ability to serve their clients and maintain competitiveness. Employers are having the most difficulty filling jobs in Sales Representatives, Technicians and Engineers.  Sales Representatives continue to top the list locally since 2007 and in Asia Pacific from 2006 through 2013.

Ms Lancy Chui, regional managing director of ManpowerGroup Greater China Region, commented: “A strong sales force of in-demand talent with a mission-critical role is critical to help drive revenue growth, but Sales Representatives continue to be the most challenging positions to fill. In addition, our survey results have constantly shown that employers report a growing concern over the availability of Engineers, with the job category having maintained a presence in the top five in-demand jobs over the past eight consecutive years due to the booming of infrastructure and railway construction projects.”

Ms. Chui continued, “Employers report a growing concern over the availability of IT candidates with the right skills, as the category climbing from eighth in 2009 to fourth in 2013 on the list of most difficult to fill position. Business agility also requires technology to enhance efficiency and productivity.  As such, the evolution of business requirement has relied significantly on IT outsourcing where employers require IT Staff to possess strong communications skills when managing IT vendors.”

”Surveyed employers in Hong Kong also report that there are challenges filling open positions, as candidates lack technical competencies / hard skills (27%); lack self-awareness (19%).  Many candidates are also looking for more pay than are offered (15%),” she added.

Hong Kong survey participants did, however, acknowledge they are taking steps to overcome difficulties in filling critical positions by adopting new approaches to people practices, modifying work models and sourcing talent differently.  Among the most popular approaches are recruiting more from untapped talent pools such as older workers (24%) and women (13%); redefining qualifying criteria to include individuals who lack certain key skills but with the potential to acquire them (11%), and using non-traditional recruiting practices (10%).

Ms Chui added: “Greater China region survey results indicate the top three hardest positions to fill for employers are quite similar to the Hong Kong trend, as the results have reflected the evolution of the region’s talent requirements. It is noteworthy that as mainland China economy becomes more sophisticated, companies are looking to develop their future leaders as Management/Executives moving up from fourth to third in the list of hard-to-fill positions.  This strong market need clearly explains why mainland Chinese conglomerates are keen to attract management talent from Hong Kong or other overseas countries.”

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