HK Job Market Sees Seasonal Drop but Resilient Despite 4th Wave!

Links International’s End of Year Hong Kong Job Market Index

Links’ Hong Kong Job Index (JOB:IN) provides data-based analysis of the Hong Kong job market based on a number of data sources including Hong Kong Labour Department statistics, HK job posting numbers and response rates in respect of a ‘basket’ of common commercial job types in Hong Kong.

Year-End Seasonal Drop in Hong Kong Job Market with Covid-19 4th Wave Having Minimal Impact

After recovering strongly from the 3rd Wave, the Hong Kong job market experienced a seasonal drop in job postings and was not significantly impacted by the Covid-19 4th wave. The Hong Kong job market grew by 6% in November before falling 5% in December driven by the seasonal reduction in job postings. 

The low number of cases throughout September, October, and most of November helped fuel a strong rally in job postings during the period. After seeing a large number of city-wide infections, the Hong Kong Government announced the return to the strict social distancing measures seen in July, and civil servants were ordered to return to work from home arrangements. In the final week of November, the job market saw a 3% dip which continued into December dropping another 5% for the month.

The job market towards the end of the year is generally quieter as talent tend to move less as they wait for their year-end bonuses, so the market drop in December does not come as a surprise. Despite the combination of the Covid-19 4th wave, end of the ESS (per below), and year-end trends, the job market continues to increase its resilience.  Businesses are better prepared for social distancing measures and have made the necessary adjustments to be more flexible to changes. We could see a further drop in the job market in January but we are not expecting any major swings like at the start of the pandemic. 

December also marks the first month in which employers stop receiving financial assistance from the government via the Employment Support Scheme (ESS). We had expected the job market to be affected by the end of the ESS, as severely impacted businesses could struggle to retain employees without any financial support. However, although the 5% dip in December could be partially to do with the end of the ESS, there did not appear to be an immediate significant impact from the removal of the ESS.

Source: Links International Job Index

Demand for All Job Functions Drop in December

The demand for the Sales and Admin & HR professionals was strong in November, with a 10% and 9% increase respectively. However, all functions lost their gains in December with only a few specific job roles seeing positive advances.

Key changes to specific roles in November and December include:

  • Demand for Digital Marketing Managers continued growing in November and December, rising 17% during this period
  • Senior IT positions saw strong demand in December
  • Sales Director and Manager roles saw the largest drop in demand
  • Demand for HR Business Partner positions remained strong, as more companies continue to restructure their business strategies
Source: Links International Job Index

Unemployment Rate Improves to 6.3% for September to November Period

The unemployment rate saw a drop of 0.1% to 6.3% from the previous period. The total number of unemployed people was around 244,300, a decrease of about 13,500 from the preceding period. Tourism, transport, and other consumer-related sectors continued to be the worst affected industries but showed signs of a slight recovery.  

How Will Salaries Be Affected in 2021?

With HK’s economy suffering in 2020, many are wondering if they will receive salary increments and year-end bonuses. Overall, the current economic climate will result in salary increments being lower in 2021 compared to 2020 with 2021 salary increments expected to be between 0 – 4%. However, certain job functions/roles have performed better in 2020 which has been reflected in their projected 2021 salary increments. To find out which job functions are expected to have the highest salary increments and the changing market trends, read our 2021 Hong Kong Salary Guide and 2021 Singapore Salary Guide now!

Related Articles:

Links International is an industry leader in innovative HR outsourcing with services such as payroll outsourcingvisa applicationPEO/EOR Secondmentoutplacementrecruitment and more! Contact us for more information on how we can help leverage your HR function.

HK Salary Guide 2021 Banner