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Hong Kong Construction Professionals: Employment Market Trends 2015Q3

Hong Kong’s employment market for construction professionals has shown strong growth in recent years. However, the market is changing and with it the types of professionals in demand change. Let’s take a brief look at where the job opportunities are in 2015 and where they are likely to be moving in to 2016.

Hong Kong's construction market has seen a relative slowdown in pace during 2015 compared to 2013/2014 which saw a peak of construction project awards and high rates of new hires. However, there is a still confidence within the industry and a pace that continues to move the market forward. In previous years the market has been driven by numerous large scale MTR contract awards which saw a marked increase in the number of local and foreign hires by construction companies, and although companies may not be hiring at the same rate, there is still confidence in the employment sector and opportunities to be had by suitable skilled professionals. But it’s important to understand where the demand for skilled professionals comes from and what skills they’re looking for.

Part of the reason for the continued need for skilled staff in Hong Kong comes down to delays in the government's construction plans. There have been several indications that residential and railway infrastructure projects introduced by the government as far back as 2010 are taking longer than predicted to be implemented. These delays mean that their uncompleted construction works could spill over into 2016/2017 which in turn would boost construction and infrastructure employment rates during these years.

A clear example of this is the HK$67billion Hong Kong-Shenzhen-Guangzhou Express Rail Link which has now increased in cost to over HK$71billion and has a delay of nearly 2 years bringing the new completion date to 2017. Along with this, several other MTR extension projects including the new Shatin to Central Link have already experienced construction problems bringing further delays to these projects also. Delays to these large scale projects boosts the employment prospects of skilled professionals brought in to analyse project delays, associated costs and claims. There is also government pressure to complete these projects which usually means hiring more staff to complete the work at a quicker rate by increasing productivity within site teams.

Apart from delayed projects, the market has also been boosted by the growing levels of residential building construction projects. Since as earlier as 2012 the government has been seeking to improve housing affordability in Hong Kong through several means such as increasing the amount of land for residential developments and new residential building projects. There is a commitment in trying to provide up to 480,000 new housing units in the next 10 years. The need for housing in Hong Kong is a long term issue and one that can only be solved by the construction of new residential buildings. In previous years there has always been a strong requirement for construction professional with Civil Engineering or Rail project experience, however during the 2015 this has now moved towards building project experience with companies finding that the number of vacancies required often far outstripping the number of candidates available in the jobs market with building project experience.

We continue to see strong demand for candidates with building project experience, with the key areas of experience in demand being: public housing projects, private residential developments, fit out, A&A and renovation projects.

If you have experience in the building sector and would like to learn more about the opportunities available please get in touch. We are currently seeking range of professionals with building project experience. Alternatively if you’re from a Civil Engineering background we would be happy to speak with you about the long term employment prospects in Hong Kong. We look forward to hearing from you.

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Tim Cole
Hong Kong & Asia Region
Maxim Recruitment

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