Hong Kong’s Financial Services Sector Using Multi-Pronged Approaches to Attract Millennial Talent

June 7, 20178:45 am600 views

Generation Y, or the so-called “millennials”, are proving to be the most challenging candidate to recruit and retain for Hong Kong’s financial services sector, which is already facing growing skills shortage.

According to independent research commissioned by specialised recruitment company Robert Half, financial services organisations have to adapt their hiring practices, to entice high-calibre millennial candidates to address the skills gap. Gen X are those born between 1965 to 1976, Gen Y are those born between 1977-1995 and Baby Boomers are those born between 1946-1964.

More than six in 10 (61 percent) financial services leaders in Hong Kong say Gen Y financial services professionals will be the most challenging to recruit over the next 12 months. This is followed by Generation X (35 percent), and Baby Boomers (4 percent).


With many financial services companies actively approaching millennial employees from competing organisations, staff retention has become a high business priority, with 55 percent saying they are most concerned about Gen Y financial services professionals leaving the company in the next year. This again is followed by Generation X (36 percent) and the Baby Boomer generation (9 percent).

Even though the financial services industry is confronted with a skill-short market, the majority (83 percent) of finance leaders in the banking and financial services industry, believe a career in financial services is an attractive career path to millennials.

Adam Johnston, Managing Director at Robert Half Hong Kong said: “While Hong Kong’s financial services leaders believe strongly in the appeal of financial services to millennials, the industry is continuously being confronted with skills shortage, and an insufficient influx of Gen Y candidates contributing to the lack of talent.

“This highlights the need for financial services companies to adapt and further position financial services as an attractive career path for millennials. Millennials are more digitised in their working practices, using new technologies to streamline and deliver projects efficiently, making this generation of professionals highly desirable in the financial services industry, which is increasingly undergoing a digital transformation.”

See: Hong Kong Financial Services Sector Set to Brace Impact of the Growing Skills Shortage in 2017

How to attract millennial talent?

As the war for talent continues, employers are adapting hiring practices aimed at sourcing highly-skilled millennial professionals. When asked what new hiring practices has the company adopted over the past two years to recruit millennial-aged workers, almost two-thirds (61 percent) of CFOs say, they have partnered with universities to source millennial candidates.

Almost half (44 percent) are recruiting millennial candidates from overseas markets and 43 percent have increased their use of social networking sites as a recruitment method.

What attracts candidates to a career in financial services?

Monetary incentives are the clear motivator for a career in financial services, as more than seven in 10 (71 percent) CFOs in financial services point to salary as the most appealing factor for professionals of all ages working in the sector. This is followed by bonuses (71 percent) and career advancement (50 percent).

However, millennial candidates in the financial services sector look beyond financial incentives. When asked what financial services companies can do to make the industry more attractive to millennial-aged workers, more than half (55 percent) identified offering flexible working arrangements, followed by higher salaries (47 percent), offering fast-track career paths (41 percent) and providing tailored career pathways (36 percent).

“While incentives have traditionally been one of the most appealing factors to pursuing a career in financial services, the desire for greater work-life balance is fast becoming a priority. In order to attract and retain top millennial talent, Hong Kong companies need to take a proactive approach by reassessing their incentives programs and offering work-life balance initiatives; as this generation will gradually make up for the majority of the future workforce.”

“Millennials also tend to be forward-looking, so providing clear opportunities for career advancement and professional development can hold just as much appeal as an annual bonus for many Gen Y candidates,” Adam Johnston stated.

Also read: Top 10 Finance and Financial Services Roles in Hong Kong Set for the Biggest Salary Gain in 2017

Feature image credit: freedigitalphotos.net

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