Links International’s 2022 Q3 Hong Kong Job Market Updates
Links’ Hong Kong Job Market updates, 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.
Q3 Sees Dips in Several Job Functions in Hong Kong
The number of job vacancies across Hong Kong spiked since the start of the year, as seen in the Q2 of 2022 Hong Kong job index. However, there was a decline in overall openings starting at the end of the 3rd quarter. This can be attributed to various reasons, such as:
- the delayed full reopening of borders
- large-scale layoffs by multiple organisations or office relocation
- the seasonal trend of employees not wanting to switch jobs during this time of the year due to bonuses and other benefits
Still, job-seekers do not need to fret as reopening of borders are poised to make a positive impact on the job market, even though the full effects of this are also yet to be seen – given that more controls were eased just a few weeks ago, while other restrictions such as hotel quarantine for visitors are still being implemented.
What’s also promising is that the Hong Kong government has come up with several initiatives to revive the economy and create more job opportunities. A key plan that is in the works is that 500,000 airline tickets will be given away next year to tourists who want to visit the country. In addition to this, an extra HK$ 100 million will be spent on various measures to enhance the experience for inbound travellers and business activities, according to a report by South China Morning Post.
Sales Takes a Hit, Admin & HR See an Overall Increase in Postings
Sales, CS and Business Development which had the biggest jump in the previous quarter – a whopping 41% increase compared to Q1 – had started to plunge since June. According to a report by Reuters, in terms of volume, retail sales fell 2.9% year-on-year in August compared with a revised 1.1% increase in July.
Strict Covid-19 restrictions and tight financial conditions have played a part in a decline in the Sales sector this quarter. However, two more rounds of the Consumption Vouchers that will be distributed by the government this year are expected to boost Sales once more through retail spending.
One function that did have an increase in vacancies, however, was Admin & HR. With unemployment rates continuing to drop and local activities being revived again, there is an increased need for HR professionals, especially when it comes to hiring locally. For example, the role of HR Executive had an increase of 5.9% in August, while HR Manager vacancies saw a jump of 7.1% in that same month.
As for the other sectors such as Accounting, Information Technology (IT) and Marketing/Public Relations, the number of job openings had either plateaued or seen a minimal decrease this quarter.
Continued Drop in Unemployment and Underemployment Rates
Hong Kong’s unemployment rates decreased from 4.1% in June to August 2022 to 3.9% in July to September 2022. According to the Census and Statistics Department, while the number of unemployed persons stood at 168,200 for the period of May to July, for June to August, the figure was 161,900 – a decrease of 6,300.
As for the number of underemployed residents, the numbers dropped from 84,000 to 76,400 during the same period. The labour force continues to expand.
A key difference between this quarter’s job market update and the last is the size of the Hong Kong workforce. In the last quarter, while the number of unemployed and underemployed persons had decreased, there was also a reduction in the number of people in the workforce. Interestingly, in this quarter, the labour force has expanded from 3,761,300 to 3,771,200, with total employment in Hong Kong rising from 3,593,100 to 3,609,300 over the same period. This is yet another promising sign for the Hong Kong job market, as a sizeable number of expats are slowly returning to the country.
Government Schemes to Be Continued Until Year End
The government announced schemes in Q1 to boost the economy such as the Employment Support Scheme wage subsidies and the Consumption Vouchers. The Consumption Vouchers, in particular, have been distributed through a few rounds. The 2nd round was handed out just recently on 1st October 2022, while the 3rd and final round is slated to start on 1st December 2022.
As the vouchers have encouraged spending to kickstart the economy again, it is hope that the full effects of it will be seen in the next quarter once the other rounds have begun. Interestingly, key functions in Sales such as Sales Director and all functions in Marketing and PR such as Digital Marketing Manager, e-Commerce Manager and Brand Manager saw an increase in August 2022 – when the first round of the Consumption Vouchers were distributed.
And while job postings this quarter have undergone a decline in general, the continuous drop-in unemployment rates and expansion of Hong Kong’s workforce signal that it is still on the road to recovery.
In late September, Secretary for Labour and Welfare Chris Sun said that Hong Kong’s labour market has continued to improve as domestic activities were revived amid the Covid-19 pandemic. He went on to say that the improvement was partly supported by the second phase of the government’s consumption voucher scheme which backed local consumption demand.
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