Virtual banking to drive employment market for finance professionals.

Hong Kong CFO survey highlights trend.

A survey of 150 CFOs in Hong Kong by Robert Half, has revealed that a significant number of companies plan to add to their financial headcount in 2019 to help implement virtual banking programs. The trend follows the Hong Kong Monetary Authority recently granting four virtual banking licences,

A total of 68 per cent of Hong Kong companies are either already implementing virtual banking or planning to in the next 12 months, Hong Kong citizens are expected to benefit from the initiatives as more than one in three (38 per cent) CFOs believe the primary benefit virtual banking will have on their organisation is lower transaction fees. Just one third (33 per cent) cite increased transparency and one quarter (25 per cent) respectively refer to faster payment capabilities, increased customer convenience and satisfaction – all impacts where consumers can directly benefit. Other advantages include increased company innovation (25 per cent), cost optimisation/reduction (24 per cent) and enhanced online processes (22 per cent).

When asked about their hiring plans to implement the company’s virtual banking programs, over one in five (22 per cent) Hong Kong CFOs plan to hire additional permanent finance professionals, with the number growing to more than one in three (36 per cent) who plan to recruit extra temporary finance professionals, clearly indicating virtual banking is set to boost financial employment in Hong Kong.

However, with more than seven in 10 (73 per cent) CFOs admitting it’s more challenging to find qualified finance professionals compared to five years ago, the growth of virtual banking is set to further highlight the skills-short market for finance professionals.

“Hong Kong is in the thick of the global technology race, with companies quick to adopt the latest advancements to remain competitive,” said Adam Johnston, managing director of Robert Half Hong Kong. “Virtual banking is an exciting initiative set to benefit an evolving financial market where consumer behaviour is increasingly becoming more digitised and expectations are high for digital services.

“Companies understand that in order to take full advantage of virtual banking they need to not only upskill existing staff but often also bring in additional expertise to address potential skills gaps,” he continued. “Currently, financial employers are looking to recruit mainly senior-level finance executives, and compliance and audit professionals, with strong demand coming from different sectors looking to set up virtual banking licenses in Hong Kong.”


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