Relentless advances in technology mean FinTech is flourishing in every corner of the globe.
When it comes to the Asia Pacific (APAC) region, a certain area stands head and shoulders above the rest. And that’s China and Hong Kong; A region dominated by alternative financing service providers and lending platforms. Notorious for being an administrative region of China, but also a financial capital of the world, here we examine the current FinTech hiring and talent trends in Hong Kong.
An unrivalled pace of FinTech evolution
From digital payments, digital investment, and digital capital raising, to digital assets, and the emergence of neo-banking, the worldwide FinTech market is quickly evolving.
Factors including the COVID-19 pandemic, alongside ever-evolving and increasingly convenient digital solutions, are responsible for a rise in the popularity of contactless smartphone and internet payment solutions. Pair those with regulatory changes that have empowered FinTech companies to compete with more traditional financial institutions, and the justification for a surge in demand for FinTech services is clear-cut.
According to analytics presented by Statista, the Hong Kong FinTech market is anticipated to mirror this global upward trajectory. There’s an expectation that the sector will “remain dynamic and innovative, with new solutions and services emerging to meet evolving consumer needs.” The implications for hiring and talent are:
With increases in demand, companies operating in FinTech may face increased competition for top-tier talent. Effective employer branding and competitive compensation packages have become essential to attract the best candidates.
Room for candidate negotiation
Many candidates are in a strong position to negotiate terms and salary.
An exponential 344% increase in FinTech companies in five years
Hong Kong accounts for nearly 14% of the world’s FinTech start-ups, and The FinTech Times states that Hong Kong is currently home to more than 800 FinTech companies. The steep incline (from just 180 five years ago) is accredited to the city’s progressive regulations, an open market, and government backing. However, further rationale is Hong Kong’s substantial investment in FinTech talent. The implications for hiring and talent are:
Highly competitive market
FinTech is well developed in Hong Kong, but this means a highly competitive market. Organisations will need to prioritise employer branding, salaries & benefits, company culture, and more, to remain competitive.
An abundance of FinTech organisations in China’s capital means many will face talent shortages. Consider that overseas companies are competing for the same FinTech talent too. Challenges with attracting and retaining talent must be addressed by hirers. Widening talent pools via remote working options and/or relocation packages may be viable solutions.
Government funding for start-ups
During the first half of 2023, there was a global decline in FinTech funding of around 17%. Yet Asia appears to have defied this trend.
While down surges were reported across the Americas ($108.9bn to $68.6bn) and the EMEA ($79bn to $44.9bn), investments in APAC’s FinTech market increased from $50.2bn in 2021 to $50.5bn. This may be a marginal change, but it’s a standout statistic given the downturns experienced globally.
Let’s also consider funding specifically for Hong Kong-based FinTechs. The Government set up a HK$2 billion Innovation and Technology Venture Fund (ITVF) in 2017 with a view to attracting more venture capital (VC) funds to co-invest in local innovation and technology (I&T) start-ups in Hong Kong. Tech start-ups can obtain government funding at a very favourable 1:2 ratio to venture capital, providing young businesses with a sturdy foundation for future growth. The implications for hiring and talent are:
The surge in FinTech funding translates to an increase in demand for professional skills in R&D and innovation. Companies must invest in skillsets that can future-proof them against fierce competition from pioneering start-ups.
Stringent hiring strategy
As FinTech funding is widely available in Hong Kong organisations need to spend well on roles that support their overall objectives and growth trajectory.
While Hong Kong is currently the exception to the rule when it comes to funding, organisations will benefit from remaining attentive to global hiring trends.
A tech-savvy population focused on AI
Hong Kong is known for its technological innovation and China had the highest rate of exploring and deploying AI last year. It’s a city with an advanced digital infrastructure and a population of individuals brought up within a high-tech culture.
According to policy consulting firm, Access Partnership, “While Hong Kong already has a large tech-savvy workforce today, if it were to accelerate the pace of its digital skilling efforts over the next decade, workers with digital skills can contribute up to a fifth (21 per cent) of Hong Kong’s gross domestic product (GDP) in 2030.”
Hong Kong has a consumer FinTech adoption rate of 67% – one of the highest worldwide, and significantly higher than France, the USA, and Japan. The implications for hiring and talent are:
Specialised skill demand
As a location committed to technological advancement, there’s a relentlessly growing need for tech professionals. Companies will need to seek and attract talent that possess expertise in the most rapidly growing specialisms, such as AI, and specifically AI applications within financial services. Storm2’s data and research exemplify this shift in in-demand skills.
Innovation will be a priority for companies looking to remain competitive. Through nurturing a strategy and culture spearheaded by innovation, organisations will not only future-proof themselves against competition but also attract individuals seeking the most innovative roles – engineers, senior developers, Software Engineers, etc.
In the landscape of Hong Kong’s FinTech ecosystem and the way the industry continues to evolve, companies must remain agile, proactive, and innovative to navigate the ever-changing currents of the FinTech talent pool. If you want to know more about broader hiring trends and data in APAC, download our 2024 APAC FinTech Report.