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Booming HK Creative Sector Fights War for Talent

Booming HK Creative Sector Fights War for Talent

Hong Kong (November 7, 2006)—Aquent, a global firm specialising in staffing solutions for the marketing, communications and creative industries, has announced the findings of its annual Asia Pacific Salary Survey and industry monitor for 2006-2007 — called the Aquent Orange Book.

More than 70 percent of advertising, public relations, design and media firms surveyed plan to increase headcount in the coming year, particularly the creative departments in advertising agencies. Confidence is high across the board, with 90 percent of firms surveyed forecasting revenue growth in 2006.

Hong Kong was second only to Mainland China in terms of demand for staff. China leads, with 87 percent of employers surveyed expecting to hire more permanent staff, followed by 79 percent of employers in Hong Kong.

As a consequence, salaries are forecast to continue to rise, with average increases of seven-to-ten percent across the sector.

The overall findings show that while salaries and hiring are increasing, the shortage of high caliber qualified talent means employers will need to work much harder to attract, retain and develop quality talent in these markets where key skills are increasingly scarce.

“The skills shortage in Hong Kong is expected to be even more acute this year than it was in 2005. The war for talent is a major issue facing Hong Kong companies and a challenge to continued profitable growth,” said Paul Slezak, Director – Hong Kong for Aquent. “Companies need to be careful when planning their resource requirements for the next 12 months to focus not just on the acquisition of high calibre talent but also on long-term talent retention strategies.”

“Hong Kong remains a pivotal incubator of talent for the marketing, communications and creative sectors in Mainland China,” he continued.

A major trend throughout the Asia Pacific region has been the significant move away from traditional above-the-line advertising to new media and below-the-line communications such as direct marketing, web sites, blogs, SMS, mobile phone marketing and digital television, and Hong Kong is no exception.

“With a global shift from traditional advertising to interactive media, candidates with proven new media and interactive marketing experience are in demand across all sectors,” said Paul Slezak.

Companies are actively looking outside Hong Kong for the right people. More than 70 percent of the companies surveyed are willing to offer sponsorship to foreign candidates, and the majority will also consider relocation packages.

This year’s salary survey was more comprehensive than ever before with over 5,000 survey responses from employers in 15 cities across seven countries in the Asia Pacific region – Australia, China, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand and Singapore.

“With an increasing demand for staff in a tightening talent market, salaries are expected to rise in the vast majority of the countries surveyed,” said Greg Savage, Aquent’s International CEO in charge of the Asia Pacific and European regions. “Over 70 percent of employers we spoke with in all countries except Japan expect salaries to rise. Japan is generally conservative in hiring intentions and salary increases, however a healthy 64 percent of companies still report an upward trend.”

For a free copy of the Aquent Orange Book contact Paul Slezak, Director in Hong Kong at +852 2127 7740 or via email at

About Aquent

Aquent is a global firm specialising in staffing solutions for the Marketing, Communications and Creative industries. Through a network of nearly 70 offices in 17 countries, Aquent services in the areas of print and web design and production; advertising and media, marketing, public relations and business support. In its twenty-year history, Aquent has made nearly 400,000 matches of independent professionals with client companies worldwide. The company’s Asia-Pacific headquarters are in Sydney and global headquarters are in Boston, Massachusetts.


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