Local talent slipping in competitiveness

January 27, 2015 10:34
Laura Cha says the government is prepared to import talent when needed. Photo: HKEJ

The competitiveness of local talent in language proficiency and other qualities is weakening, a study by the Financial Services Development Council has found.

This is happening while mainlanders make up more than one in five of the employees at many firms in the financial sector. 

The government advisory body said the 90 firms it interviewed predicted growth of 5 percent to 15 percent in the demand for talent in coming years, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reported Tuesday.

The shortage of labor is especially obvious in the private banking and insurance sectors. Vacancies are the most abundant in risk management and compliance.

Joseph Luc Ngai, the council's convener for human resources, said it is common for local graduates to pursue a master's degree in the hope of joining an investment bank afterward, but they are not interested in any of the supporting positions in the back office.

"This attitude is not healthy," Ngai said. "There is insufficient talent to fill compliance vacancies, while the number of front-line roles is limited."

Ngai urged local students to better equip themselves with the necessary skills and knowledge to compete with talent from the mainland and overseas.

Council chairwoman Laura Cha Shih May-lung said the government is prepared to import talent when needed.

Between 70 percent and 80 percent of investment banks, private banks and financial advisory and wealth management firms in Hong Kong have hired mainlanders for more than 20 percent of their headcount over the past decade, the study said.

"Without this group of talents, our financial market could not have reached its present size," Cha said.

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