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Challenge of finding qualified finance staff
Published on Friday, 19 Aug 2011

If you're currently working in the accounting or banking sector, you could be worth more than you think.

According to the latest Robert Half Workplace Survey released just this month, 34 per cent of Hong Kong employers are planning to increase their full-time staff in finance, accounting or banking in the second half of 2011. Nevertheless, 93 per cent reported challenges in finding qualified finance professionals.

Furthermore, 88 per cent of employers are concerned about losing their top performers to other job opportunities next year.

The survey covers four key financial markets in the Asia-Pacific region - Singapore, Australia, Hong Kong and New Zealand. This year 3,500 human resources and finance and accounting managers were surveyed.

Commenting on the Hong Kong results, Pallavi Anand, director of Robert Half Hong Kong, says the results were surprising but justified, particularly about losing top performers, which was 12 per cent more in Hong Kong than the regional average.

"Employers' fear of losing their top performers is valid, as 45 per cent of finance professionals surveyed in Hong Kong admitted that they were planning to seek employment or a promotion with a new company in the next two years," Anand says. This fear is further validated when one considers the challenge of finding qualified finance professionals.

"Hong Kong and Singapore are dynamic global financial hubs and, with the current market uncertainty in the European Union and the United States, many companies are now looking to Asia as a key growth market," she explains.

Anand points to another finding that 56 per cent of Hong Kong employers were mulling a business expansion in the second half of 2011. Companies are also trying to keep their staff by promoting from within and upgrading their skills.

"Losing staff is more costly than training them so employers are focusing on staff training and development. This not only allows companies to build the skill sets of their current teams but may improve retention rates, since employees appreciate the opportunity to acquire new skills," Anand says.