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Contract Professionals Gain Traction in Hong Kong’s Challenging Economy: 63% of Employers Hire Contractors in 2024

HONG KONG SAR – Media OutReach Newswire – 27 June 2024 – Despite a dimmer economic outlook for 2024 in Hong Kong, a recent survey by leading specialist professional recruitment firm Robert Walters found that the demand for contract roles in Hong Kong remains strong amidst the challenging climate.

The findings are from Robert Walters’ upcoming “Hong Kong Contractor Recruitment Guide”, which surveyed over 300 business decision-makers across multiple sectors about their contractor hiring plans and challenges. The survey revealed that 63% of employers are going to hire contractors in 2024. 51% of them have already started contractor recruitment in 2023, while 12% didn’t hire contractors in 2023. Notably, sectors such as IT, accounting & finance, human resources, and business support are experiencing significant demand for contract talent.

The findings indicate that the key reasons employers are turning to contract workers include the ability to staff short-term assignments (43%), the lack of permanent headcount budget (29%), and the need for specialised skills and expertise (20%). Matthew Sullivan, senior manager of Robert Walters Hong Kong financial services contract division, explained, “Contractors are becoming an essential part of the workforce strategy, providing the agility and specialised skill sets that organisations require to adapt under uncertain economic times.”

Professionals are increasingly considering contract positions

For years, the traditional mindset among Hong Kong employees has been one of aversion to non-permanent, contractor-based work, influenced by the city’s strong preference for long-term, salaried positions as the ideal career path. Employees tended to view contracting work as less stable and culturally unacceptable.

However, the demand for contingent workers for short-term tech projects in recent years and the arrival of a new generation of workers are challenging this long-standing perspective. More employers are seeking multi-disciplinary talent rather than just highly specialised individuals. Contractors can provide the versatility of experience to tackle complex, cross-functional projects. “It has become increasingly common for professionals to take on contractor roles to gain exposure to new industries, technologies, and projects in a short space of time.” Commented Pinki Chan, manager of Robert Walters Hong Kong tech & transformation contract division.
Gen Z’s entrepreneurial mindset

Young workers tend to prioritise roles that enrich their lives across mental, emotional, and experiential dimensions. They place real value on being able to let their work “do the talking” rather than the hours served. Pinki added, “Contract roles provide young professionals with the perfect springboard to be the best in their field. While it can open the door to a new industry or type of work, contractors can enjoy higher flexibility to plan longer holidays and go for training to upgrade their skills”.

According to the Robert Walters top talent trends in recruitment guide, 9 out of 10 Gen Z professionals see remote/hybrid working as the biggest lever when choosing a role. This younger generation prioritise work-life balance, and flexibility is proving to be a valuable target for companies seeking agile talent, making contractor positions increasingly appealing. The survey by Robert Walters shows that flexible working arrangements is the most common perk for employers (35%) to appeal to contractors.

Tapping into the GBA talent pool

The survey also states 51% of employers trying to hire contractors in Hong Kong cited sourcing skilled contractors as their top challenge. This “talent crunch” is driving employers to explore new avenues for finding the specialised expertise they require.

In response, employers are increasingly looking beyond the local talent pool and turning to the Greater Bay Area (GBA) for contractor hires, which the HK government’s Top Talent Pass Scheme (TTPS) has facilitated this trend, with an increase of working visas issued. Notably, 60% of GBA talent who are looking to work in Hong Kong have stated they are open to being employed as contract workers from the GBA talent survey by Robert Walters. This suggests a more favourable view of contractor roles in the region, as opposed to the traditional Hong Kong mindset against contracting work. The growing openness to contractor roles among the GBA talent pool presents an opportunity for employers to bridge their skills gap.

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Robert Walters Hong Kong

Established in 1985, Robert Walters is one of the world’s leading specialist professional recruitment consultancies spanning 31 markets. The Hong Kong office specialises in placing high-calibre professionals on a permanent or contract basis in the following specialities: accounting & finance, construction, property & engineering, financial services, HR & business support, legal & compliance, sales & marketing, supply chain, logistics & procurement, and tech & transformation.

The Robert Walters Hong Kong contract team focuses on a wide range of contract, interim and temporary hire from mid-level to senior management. We also offer an end-to-end resourcing and payroll service. For more information, please visit