Hong Kong's IT job market will see a stable year in 2014. Despite positive business growth expectation, only 21% of Hong Kong IT executives said their firms plan to hire immediately, and 48% have no plans to hire new staff at all in 2014, according to the latest survey by Computerworld Hong Kong and Enterprise Innovation.
The survey was conducted in December 2013 and its findings show a reversal of hiring sentiment from two years ago. In 2012, a similar survey showed 47% of the local IT executives were looking to hire immediately, with only 20% indicating no plans to hire. (Figure 1: scroll down to the photo album to see the chart)
Static IT job market
Although the general IT hiring trend is expected to remain static, the good news is that IT executives are seeing less uncertainty (7%) and expect a slight drop in cutting headcounts (2%) as compared to 2012. In addition, the overall turnover is expected to remain low this year, with only 16% anticipating a higher turnover, while more than half (58%) expect a lower staff turnover.
The more stable IT permanent job market contrasts with the IT contracting scene, where more activity is seen, according to Lisa Lam, branch manager of IT contracting recruitment at Manpower. She said more contract employers are looking to hire an entire team rather than a few individuals.
"I am receiving requests to hire teams of eight to ten people at the same time," said Lam. "The employers are managed service providers or software vendors seeking contractors to work on their customers' projects."
Lam said it is a more positive sign when compared to last year, when only 10% of the hiring was to fill new headcounts and 90% were replacements. She added the most sought-after roles are application specialists — particularly SAP and Oracle experts.
Application specialists are also popular among IT executives — 36% of those surveyed stated they anticipate a need for these workers. The percentage increased from 2012, when 29% expressed a need for application specialists (Figure 2: scroll down to the photo album to see the chart).
Rising demand for mobile, cloud computing and BI skills
Cloud computing skills are also in demand. In 2012, many enterprises were still exploring the application of cloud computing, thus only 22% of IT executives stated they needed these skills. But the maturity of cloud computing raised the demand to 38% in 2014 — it now ranks third.
The top most-needed skills among local IT executives in the survey are mobility (50%), and BI/analytics (45%). Mobility was not listed as an option previously, but increased mobile usage has created opportunities for candidates with experience in mobile applications and management. A rising need to measure and monitor business performance helped drive higher demand for skills in BI and data analytics from two years ago (17%).
Sign up for CIO Asia eNewsletters.