Demand for IT talent in HK to remain high in 2019

Hong Kong's IT jobs market is expected to remain robust in 2019 (Image popba / iStockPhoto)

Data scientists, DevOps experts and site reliability engineers are expected to be some of the most in-demand technology roles in Hong Kong in 2019, according to Morgan McKinley.

The company's 2019 Hong Kong Salary Guide predicts that the job market for both IT contractors and permanent staff to remain buoyant in the year ahead, even as Hong Kong organizations grow more hesitant in their overall hiring decisions due to the US-China trade dispute.

IT recruitment among Hong Kong organizations was very active in 2018. Demand for contractors in particular increased 20% from 2017, and demand is expected to continue to surge in 2019 and beyond.

Big data, artificial intelligence and cloud computing continued to be emerging technology trends changing the landscape in 2018, Morgan McKinley said.

Demand for development roles – particularly application and front end development – is expected to be a key driver of this growth in demand for contractors. This high demand is expected to push contract salaries up by 10% to 20% in 2019, according to the company.

In terms of permanent roles, the company noted that in contrast to previous years where financial services were the main market for candidates, in 2018 startups and technology companies absorbed much of Hong Kong’s IT talent.

The year saw increased demand for programmers and software engineers in particular. But the ongoing trend towards migrating to the cloud is resulting in declining network engineering and IT security headcounts.

In-demand roles among permanent job candidates include Java development, DevOps and agile methodologies.

Morgan McKinley also expects a surge in demand for data scientists, with a strong focus on machine learning, predictive analysis and natural language processing.

The company is advising its clients and hiring managers to embrace digital transformation, and shift their mindsets from viewing IT talent as a support function to one at the forefront of the business.

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