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IT pros hiring heats up in Hong Kong (Part 1)

Sheila Lam | March 6, 2012
Despite uncertainty in the Eurozone and rumors of layoffs, 64 percent of IT executives still plan to hire within the year

Banks that have already cut their IT teams may be seeking IT outsourcing providers. Kwok suggested that IT professionals from the banking and finance sector should consider contract roles or openings from vendors. She noted more banks are extending their short-term contracting roles from the infrastructure management functions towards project management and application support positions.

Ho agreed, saying that head-counts are expected to move from banks towards service providers. "That's one of the reasons that the IT job market will remain active in general commercial sectors and with vendors," she added.

The most sought-after skills

In additional to changes in general hiring trends, IT executives in 2012 are also seeking a slightly different set of skills. Project management roles continue to be top of the list with 32% of IT executives, but demand for these roles has dropped slightly from 38% in 2009. Demand for application specialists, the second most sought-after skills in the previous study, also dropped from 32% in 2009 to 29% this year.

Meanwhile, demand for other skill- that have grown or emerged in the latest study. The more prominent ones include networking engineers (29%), security personnel (24%), cloud computing experts (23%), Microsoft programmers (23%) and infrastructure/datacenter managers (21%).

The findings align with Ho's observation in the market. She said middle-management roles like project management, as well as technical solution manager and solution architects, are roles many enterprises constantly seek.

Despite the lack of hiring within the banking and finance sector, Kwok noted that buy-side businesses, like asset management, are continuing to hire. Many of these businesses are seeking to implement new trading platforms, particularly for finance-specific applications, driving a higher demand for project management experts and application support.

One of the reasons for the rising demand for infrastructure and networking experts is the result of increased discussion on the government's datacenter strategy, said Chin from Robert Walters.

"With Hong Kong's position as a major financial and trading hub in Asia, coupled with regional offices and MNC headquarters, there's a great demand for secure datacenter facilities and services," he said. "Furthermore, with interest in mainland expansion, further job opportunities will be generated within data systems and security."

"More banks and multinationals are moving their datacenters back to Hong Kong," Ho added. Multinationals that set up datacenters in other cities within the region are finding Hong Kong remains a better location for reliable infrastructure and quality workforce, she added.

The never-ending talent quest

Despite changes in hiring trends this year, the talent search is never-ending. 77% of polled IT executives indicated they face difficulties finding suitable talent--significantly higher than 2009, when 56% indicated similar difficulties. Finding the correct mix of skills remains the top challenge in the latest survey (72%). (Figure 3)


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