More HK Job Seekers Open to Career Changes

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As job insecurity becomes a key theme in Hong Kong, job seekers are more willing to switch jobs or start a second career. 

The Salary Survey, commissioned by JobsDB and involving 4,000 Hong Kong employees, saw 75% not feeling confident about their employment prospects and exploring alternatives. Seventy-six percent said that they are open to switching jobs, especially those in hospitality and tourism (26%), customer service (20%) and general management (20%) sectors. 

Most blame the economic malaise brought on by COVID-19 with 78% pointing to “possibilities of local recession due to socio-economic situations.” Uncertainties in the market environment is spurring 68% to look for alternatives, while 61% felt that their companies will not survive. 

Employees are also looking to switch industries or functions altogether. The survey showed that 26% felt that it was time to jump sectors, while 20% said that they want to switch job functions because their current prospects are dimming. 

Job security is a key motivator for Hong Kong employees as the economic downturn bites. Almost 30% of job seekers and employees are willing to “attempt to switch to a company with better job security”, while 19% of employees and 32% of job seekers wish to “switch to another job function/ occupation with better job security or greater demand in the market.”

Employees are also switching jobs faster. Sixty-four percent of the surveyed employees said that they took less than two months to decide, with 35% taking at least 3 months. 

For some, switching careers may increase their take-home pay, if they have the right experience. The sweet spot for experience is three to five years. Seventy-three percent with these years of experience saw their salaries increase when switching careers. Those with six to 10 years of experience (62%) came in second.

Having a second job is now a reality for many Hong Kong employees and job seekers. It is what JobsDB calls as “slash careers” where individuals undertake and maintain several job roles or different types of work 

The survey found that 42% of job seekers and 25% of employees will work part time or freelance to maintain their income. JobsDB advised job seekers to consider part-time jobs to explore alternative career paths.

“Slash careers are increasingly popular among the younger population, who find career fulfillment through trying new things, and who appreciate flexible working to allow them to pursue further study,” says Isaac Shao, chief executive officer at JobsDB Hong Kong.  

Now more employees are entertaining slash careers. “During the current epidemic, job seekers may also consider part-time or freelance jobs to avoid lengthening their unemployment gap,” adds Shao.  

Meanwhile, job seekers are pragmatic on how long it will take to find the right jobs. 

Forty-six percent of job seekers expect to wait 3 to 6 months, an increase of 8% compared to last year, versus 31% who expect to find a fresh job within 2 months.

One sector that is doing well is IT and analytics. These employees recorded the highest salary increment, at 6.1% and 5.8% respectively. The IT sector has secured higher-than-average growth for consecutive years, highlighting a consistent demand for strong talent in this developing industry.

“Industries related to IT and digital transformation are still booming. This can be attributed to the fact that all industries need technological support and digital transformation to simplify complicated operations and improve efficiency, thereby ushering in a new-generation business model. In addition, Hong Kong is still short of talent specializing in e-commerce, mobile, AI and cloud computing, thus the demand remains very high, contributing to the surging salary growth of relevant industries,” says Shao.

Photo credit: iStockphoto/phototechno