HK companies grappling with digital talent shortage

HK companies grappling with digital talent shortageDemand for digital talent among Hong Kong employees continues to outstrip supply, and the market risks bleeding talent to other regional technology hubs, according to Hays Hong Kong.

The recruitment company's regional director for Hong Kong Dean Stellard said Hong Kong employers are facing stiff competition to secure digital talent.

Employers must be aware that they are not just competing with companies in Hong Kong but other regional players including Shenzhen -- China's own Silicon Valley.

Stellard noted that while the Hong Kong business sector's innovation-related expenditure grew 3% year on year to US$2.2 billion, this still amounted to less than 1% of the city's total GDP.

Shenzhen businesses by contrast spent the equivalent of 3.4% of the city's GDP, and R&D investment levels are even higher in South Korea and Hong Kong.

“Hong Kong has worked hard for its reputation as one of the world’s top digital technology hubs and definitely one of the best fintech centres, but other regional centres are vying to be the best also. Being the best means attracting strong investment not just in dollars, but also in human capital and this is where Hong Kong is doing some fine work,” he said.

“We are fortunate to have many well supported incubator, accelerator and start up programs and initiatives growing the talent market Hong Kong needs, but we are still seeing jobs far outnumber qualified candidates.”

Demand remains high for cyber security talent, front-end developers, java developers with agile project experience, data scientists and business intelligence experts with experience with SAP and ERP. But such candidates remain in short supply.

Cyber security is a particularly high priority for banks and financial firms as a result of efforts to meet the September deadline for the first phase of the HKMA's CFI Initiative, as well as in light of the 27 recorded cyber attacks in Hong Kong in the 18 months leading up to March.

Collaborations between ASTRI and various bodies to develop more advanced ways to defend financial industry companies from cyber attacks will continue to drive this demand, Hays said.