Struggling to Hire for Retail Sales in Hong Kong? How To Overcome Your Recruitment Challenges

In 2023, the retail sector in Hong Kong has experienced robust growth, particularly due to an upswing in inbound tourism.

According to the Hong Kong Trade Department Council’s report for September 2023, the market witnessed a remarkable year-on-year growth of 13%, reaching HK$4.06 billion. In terms of volume, there was a noteworthy 10.1% increase during the same period. The overall projection for retail sales in 2023 indicates a substantial 17% growth, representing a significant improvement compared to the -0.9% recorded in 2022, as explained by PwC HK.

Hiring Challenges Faced by Hong Kong’s Retail Sales Sector

This rapid expansion has led to a talent shortage in the market, posing challenges in recruiting adequate staff. Below, we delve into what these challenges are and explore strategies for employers grappling with the difficulties in hiring for sales in Hong Kong’s retail sector.

  • Budgeting constraints

Even with budgeting preparations done ahead of time, a volatile talent market can make it difficult to commit full-time to a recruitment service due to financial concerns.

Data from a survey done on employers in Hong Kong by a global talent services company showed that they were facing high talent attrition rates and talent retention challenges due to financial factors. 91% of those surveyed said they had ‘lost staff members in the last six months’, with ‘half selecting ‘salary’ as the main reason for their departures.’

  • A highly competitive talent market

Quoted in an Inside Retail article, a Hong Kong government spokesperson said that aside from the increase in tourists, retail sales also started picking up in 2023 due to continued improvement in household income and the government’s various support initiatives, such as the Night Vibes Hong Kong Campaign. Hong Kong also released another round of Consumption Vouchers in July 2023 and introduced the Hello Hong Kong Campaign to boost tourism.

Chief Executive John Lee addressed that more than 70,000 people have moved to Hong Kong so far this year through different talent admission schemes – showing that the city is highly competitive. He explains, “The results are encouraging and fully demonstrate that Hong Kong is highly attractive and competitive at an international level in terms of attracting top global talent.”

Focusing specifically on travel retail sales, there is a growing need for hiring sales positions such as:

  1. Business Development Director,
  2. Key Account Manager,
  3. Executive Training & Learning roles.

  • Increased inflexibility in the workforce

Global work trends show that more companies are leaning towards adapting flexible workforce solutions and flexible working arrangements to attract and retain staff better. A study done on job candidates in Hong Kong found that 63% of job candidates did not feel it was necessary to be sitting at their desks to get work done. 45% of those surveyed also said flexibility in a job was a top motivating factor when thinking of a job switch.

A separate survey also backed this up, with 85% of respondents who were employees in Hong Kong saying that were seeking flexible working arrangements as a crucial non-monetary benefit.

Read also: Why Corporate Wellness is Important for Talent Retention in Asia

  • Year-end resignations after bonuses

It’s common, particularly in a highly competitive market where rival companies offer lucrative perks, for employees to jump ship once receiving bonuses and pay hikes for the year. In fact, a poll by AsiaOne showed that 71% of its readers in had considered resigning after receiving their year-end bonuses.

Read also: Hong Kong Policy Address 2023: Highlights for Businesses and HR Leaders

Why A Recruiter on Demand is What You Need

For employers who are crucially looking to fill in roles for retail sales but are faced by challenges such as those listed above, you could consider looking into a recruiter on demand service.

Partnering with a recruiter on demand will allow you to hire more in a more specialised manner at a faster pace, and it also affords the following:

  • Increased cost effectiveness

This is especially beneficial for employers hiring during a spike in demand for talent, or don’t want to hire in large volumes due to the not being able to predict future market conditions. A recruiter on demand service is more targeted and will allow to hire the exact type of talent you need for the present time, leading to better talent retention.

  • Better agility and flexibility

Using a recruiter on demand allows you to hire at your preferred time – the service can be easily stopped once your hiring needs have been fulfilled. This model also allows you to easily scale your business and expand a rate that you’re comfortable with.

  • Access to market insights

Recruiter on demand services also give you the chance to work with recruiters who can provide current insights into the industry and hire having those insights and current market conditions in mind. The hiring process will be finely tuned to meet the specific demands of today’s dynamic market.

  • Hiring with the right technology

On-demand recruiters will bring with them an established database and cutting-edge technology to source the right people for your organisation, enabling you to access a wider and more diverse talent pool of the highest quality. This strategic advantage can greatly enhance your ability to attract and retain top talent in today’s competitive job market.

What Can You Expect from Working with a Recruiter on Demand?

  1. Rapid and Adaptable Hiring Solutions: Businesses will be able to access a swift and flexible recruitment approach that supplements internal HR capabilities, ensuring a time and efficient hiring process.

  2. Broader Employer Brand Visibility and Enhance Talent Sourcing: Businesses can expand on employer branding outreach, thereby fortifying their ability to attract top-tier talent through improved talent sourcing strategies.

  3. Cost-Effective Solutions for High-Volume Recruitment Needs: Cost-effective approach to meet high volume recruitment demands, enabling businesses to navigate large-scale hiring requirements without compromising on quality.

  4. Performance Assurance for Optimal Matches: With a commitment to performance, on-demand recruitment services guarantee the identification of the best-fit candidates in the market, ensuring that your organisation secures individuals who align seamlessly with your specific requirements and objectives.

Been having talent shortage difficulties for a while now? Teaming up with recruiter on demand services can help you weather through 2024’s hiring challenges by, particularly if your constraints are to do with costs and a lack of access to the right talent. With a recruiter on demand service, you enjoy an all-in-one solution to increasing your internal HR resources, widen your employer branding and get to be matched with top talent in your market.

Links International has over 20 years of experience as a leading recruitment agency across Asia. To learn more about our recruiter on demand services, contact us today!