Partnerships May Ease the HK Fintech Talent Struggle

Photo credit: iStockphoto/metamorworks

The growth and advancement in technology have significantly transformed the local job landscape. Jobs such as cloud engineers and data scientists, roles which did not even exist 5-10 years ago, are in demand. According to a business study conducted by Microsoft in partnership with IDC Asia/Pacific, it is predicted by 2021 approximately 60% of Hong Kong’s GDP will be derived from digital products or services created directly through the use of digital technologies, such as mobility, cloud, Internet of Things (IoT), and artificial intelligence (AI). In 2017, these represented only 5% of the GDP.

With the right skills, CIOs and IT teams should be able to accelerate the company's transformation ambitions and business values, and leverage Hong Kong's booming digital economy. However, the lack of talent with new IT skills is a significant challenge in Hong Kong, leading to adverse effects in terms of product development and the growth of service.

Hong Kong in short of fintech talents

A report from Robert Walters revealed that in Southeast Asia, close to 70% of hiring managers took at least three months to fill an open tech position. The Asia Pacific region is facing an imminent labor shortage of around 12.3 million workers by 2020. This figure may potentially rise to 47 million by 2030, with financial and business services suffering the most if not adequately dealt with. By 2030 in Hong Kong alone, the talent shortage is predicted to reach more than 1.8 million workers, resulting in a potential loss of USD 219.8 billion in annual revenue. 

60.5% of HK employers saw fintech talent acquisition, along with customer acquisition and funding as significant challenges in operations.

According to the Fintech Employment 2019 report released by Robert Walters, 95% of fintech enterprises believe that there is a lack of talent for the industry in Hong Kong. Forty-seven percent of interviewed employers see the lack of skill set as the biggest challenge. Similarly, a report from the University of Hong Kong released in October 2019 indicates that there was a definite growth in Hong Kong fintech organizations. Among the results, 60.5% of employers saw talent acquisition, along with customer acquisition and funding as significant challenges in operations. 

The lack of talent in the Asia Pacific, in particular, Hong Kong, has led to new initiatives from the Hong Kong government and large corporations. These new initiatives from the government are aimed to encourage upskilling or reskilling for which subsidies are offered to adults pursuing education and training through the Continuing Education Fund (CEF). With the fund, eligible applicants can be reimbursed for up to HKD 20,000 within a one-year successful completion before reaching the age of 71. 

Also, joint efforts between the public and private sectors resulted in the Foundation Certificate in Cloud Computing Architecture course launched by HKU SPACE, in cooperation with Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Cyberport in 2018. As one of the world's more comprehensive and broadly adopted cloud platforms, AWS provides authorized materials, training, and accreditation for HKU SPACE instructors. The instructors are then qualified to offer comprehensive training and further qualify aspiring cloud computing architects and developers in Hong Kong.

Some organizations are now looking to have a strategic partner in helping to manage and accelerate their digital journey. 

The Global Knowledge 2019 IT Skills and Salary Report details that IT professionals with AWS certification can command a higher salary, as well as be equipped with the skills necessary to take in a broader range of career opportunities. Many organizations now also offer internal training programs to best assist employees in understanding relevant concepts and operations in various technology systems.

However, it does not automatically translate to a smooth experience even when organizations can hire talent with the right skills. Aside from skills, individuals also need to have experience and know-how in effectively using new technologies to achieve business goals.  

Tackling the challenge of fintech talent shortage

So, the next question should be – who would make the right strategic partner? 

A good strategic partner should be able to assist organizations through different dimensions. With the right expert advice from partner specialists, they can provide the best guidance on various applications. These include architecting, implementing, and optimizing the best solution at hand.

Instead of solely solving IT problems, the partner should also offer unbiased guidance on technologies to best meet and support the organization's specific business needs and strategies, enabling the flexibility needed to scale resources based on demand. In essence, the right strategic partner does not only resolve day-to-day IT management tasks but rather elevate and empower the IT team to focus on tackling transformational tasks that make an impact on the entire organization.

The right strategic partner can helps with daily IT management tasks, empowering IT skills, and tackling transformational tasks. 

A great company like GeoSwift, which specializes in cross-border payment solutions, is one organization that was able to leverage a strategic partnership and truly widen their opportunities and potential. The HK company addressed a series of rising demands, calling for a more efficient and secure cross-border payment service in and out of China. Rackspace, as a strategic partner, used a multi-layered approach to assist GeoSwift in achieving PCI compliance standards while allowing them to have more time to focus on their core businesses.

Through the help of a strategic partner, organizations can jointly plan, assess, design, migrate, manage and optimize their digital transformation journey, allowing them to capture the essential opportunities presented by Hong Kong's booming digital economy.

Gene Tang, Head of Professional Services, Rackspace Asia, wrote this article. The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of HR&DigitalTrends. Photo credit: iStockphoto/metamorworks