Links Job Index: Hong Kong Job Market Sees 2020’s Largest Fall in April and Job Applications Skyrocketing

Links International’s April 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.

Hong Kong Job Market Sees 2020’s Largest Fall in April and Job Applications Skyrocketing

April has been the worst-performing month this year for the Hong Kong Job Market. The weakness was driven by the worsening global sentiment in tandem with the Easter and Labour day holidays.

Links International’s Hong Kong Job Index showed job postings fell 16% between March and April, before stabilizing in the last 2 weeks of April. At the same time, job applications increased 32% between March and April reflecting a strong shift towards an employer driven job market in April.   

The improvement towards the end of April coincides with the improving situation in Hong Kong, where the city reported no new locally transmitted cases of Covid-19 for over 14 days. As the Government relaxes restrictions and civil servants and private sector employees return to the office, we expect a recovery in the early May job market, similar to the bounce in the market when employees returned to the office in early March 2020.

Source: Links International Job Index
Source: Links International Job Index

Job Posting Drops Across All Functions

All Corporation Function jobs across the board have taken a beating in April, with even the usually resilient IT industry falling 8%. Human Resources and Administration job roles continued to be the most affected, plummeting 23% in April. Accounting, Marketing, and Sales functions have not fared much better, each dropping at least 15% respectively.

In terms of specific job titles, with traditional brick and mortar stores closed and consumers changing to online spending there was stronger demand for eCommerce and Digital Marketing Managers towards the end of April.  Demand for Financial, Planning & Analysis Managers was one of the jobs most adversely affected, with FP&A job postings dropping by over 70% in April. 

Source: Links International Job Index

32% Increase in Job Applications and 4.2% Unemployment Rate Signaling Employer Driven Market

The decreasing number of job postings has seen a correlation with the increased monthly job ad response rate. A 32% job response rate increase between March and April shows the job market is now very much an employer driven one.

A steep 0.5% increase in unemployment to 4.2% indicated that around 28,100 additional Hong Konger’s have lost their jobs, with analysts forecasting more in the near future.  In total around 162,200 people are out of jobs, a number not seen in almost a decade.

Hong Kong’s economy logged a record 8.9% year on year decline in the first quarter. During these challenging times, the Government has promised additional stimulus to kick start the economy and protect jobs.  As the Employment Support Scheme (ESS) awaits approval from the Legislative Council, we expect that the passing of the bill and payment of subsidies will have a positive impact on the job market.

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