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According to Randstad’s just-published report, the 2021 Market Salary Snapshot for Hong Kong, HR function has undergone a radical change in 2020 – driven by the ongoing impact of the pandemic.

Before COVID-19 hit, HR professionals were focused on attracting and hiring good talent. But as the crisis from the pandemic unfolded over the past 12 months, the responsibilities of HR began to shift dramatically in 2020.

“There is now a higher focus on what’s happening internally rather than externally. Most employers have had to turn their attention to enable remote working, drive productivity and enhance employee engagement in the so-called new world of work.” the report states.

The report also revealed that as Covid vaccines are rolled out across the globe through 2021, there will be an increased “need for HR professionals to work in the retail, hospitality and aviation industries once border control measures are relaxed”.

But factoring in the complexities involved in travel bubble negotiations as Covid-19 cases in Hong Kong and other countries is gradually contained, employers are more likely to adopt an integrated workforce strategy – a combination of hiring permanent, contract and self-employed freelancers – from now until 2022.

Salary breakdown

Focusing on HR salaries in Hong Kong, even though there will likely be a continued salary and bonus freeze in the HR professional through 2021, HR professionals with highly desired skills may receive a 5% to 12% salary increment when changing employers.

Salary snapshot ­– Commerce (HK$/mth)
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Desired skills

HR professionals are increasingly expected to advise business leaders on new market intelligence, help to develop flexible work arrangements policies and boost the employer brand.

As more and more organisations focus on long-term business sustainability and talent development, demand for HR professionals experienced in organisational development and talent management to increase in 2021. To effectively provide consultation, these HR specialists are required to work closely with business units to grasp the skills gaps and take the lead in driving business operations agendas.

HR candidate expectations

Candidates have unsurprisingly changed their expectations of what constitutes an ideal employer after experiencing remote working. Previously, salary increments would have topped their wish-list.

But HR talent now places more value on career progression opportunities, a supportive organisational culture and a financially healthy employer, the report explains.

HR in banking and finance

Zeroing in on the banking and finance sector, globally institutions are taking a conservative approach as the industry is expected to contract in 2021.

Asian organisations, however, are more optimistic about the market recovery, due to a relatively successful containment of COVID-19 and many governments’ swift decision to mandate mask-wearing – as well as the local population’s high compliance to safe distancing measures.

The report tips Chinese and locally based organisations to expand their headcount in 2021. Business confidence to increase headcounts will be boosted by travel bubble negotiations between Asia Pacific jurisdictions.

There is a significant digital shift in the banking & financial services industry, spurring a higher demand for professionals who are experienced in organisational development, human resource information system and L&D.

There still exists a skills gap in digitalisation. Many organisations are seeking candidates equipped with digital skills to drive HR initiatives across workforce management and talent development.

Salary snapshot ­– Banking and finance (HK$/mth)
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