Although hundreds of businesses have been waiting in line for a Hong Kong crypto license, recruiters claim they have not yet noticed a similar demand for talent.
Recruitment professionals admit that despite the euphoria around crypto firms getting ready to enter Hong Kong, this enthusiasm has not yet resulted in local recruits. On June 1, numerous businesses lined up to apply for a local crypto license; some reportedly paid up to $25 million to do so.
The hiring demands of the cryptocurrency sector in Hong Kong are now minimal, according to Sue Wei, Managing Director of the significant recruitment firm Hays. Wei says that many Web3 companies are still in the early phases of development, despite the fact that exchanges have been striving to build a presence in the area. However, as these businesses continue to expand and mature, she expects an increase in job openings.
After the recent decline in the cryptocurrency market, Hays has seen a marked decline in inquiries for technical skills hiring. A wave of layoffs in the sector made some people wary of working for crypto startups since they felt the industry was unstable and overly dependent on cryptocurrency pricing.
Cryptorecruit creator Neil Dundon also laments the absence of noteworthy activity in Hong Kong. The current level of venture activity is minimal despite the legislative improvements. Dundon, though, thinks the market has bottomed out and anticipates rising trends to start after this.
Olga Yung, Managing Director of Michael Page Hong Kong, supports the comments and claims that despite the government’s recent effort, there hasn’t been a noticeably higher number of job seekers explicitly looking for opportunities in Web3. However, Yung notes a minor increase in Web3 companies looking to add legal and compliance staff in the middle to end of the second quarter of 2023.
Although it is clear that the crypto business is interested in Hong Kong, recruiting managers have noticed a slower rate of hiring within the nation. Future hiring activity is anticipated to increase as Web3 companies develop and the market stabilizes. In the upcoming months, there may be a greater emphasis on recruiting due to regulatory changes and a potential uptick in the market.
Talent war is coming
As businesses wait for license approvals, Kevin Gibson, the founder of Web3 recruitment agency Proof of Search, forecasts that it may take six months for the influx of crypto talent into Hong Kong. He says that a sizable quantity of specialized skill has recently left Hong Kong, leaving a small pool of local talent. Companies will probably encounter fierce competition for talent as they grow in the area.
The need to fill critical jobs with full-time employees is a need for setting up operations in Hong Kong, which heightens the talent shortage. Gibson predicts that the shortage of personnel will last through 2024, and Web3 corporations may think about moving their corporate offices to crypto-friendly nations if their plans line up.
According to the most recent statistics, Hong Kong’s population has been declining since 2020. However, according to job data for the first quarter of 2023, there were almost 38% more openings than at the same time last year. Despite this, recruiting employees interested in the crypto and Web3 industries is still difficult because so many job prospects are risk-averse given the state of the market.
Neil Tan, the head of the FinTech Association of Hong Kong, on the other hand, has come across people who have recently made the transition from conventional banking to the cryptocurrency sector. He points out that some applicants are contacted directly by cryptocurrency companies, while others actively look for jobs on websites like LinkedIn.