Ewen BurnsManaging Director
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Whilst the US and UK started 2020 on much the same trajectory as previous years, in Hong Kong the market was disrupted by the protests and initial wave of Covid-19. Where activity remained the drivers were unchanged, namely; technology, transformation, onus on operational taxes, and the worldwide tax agenda pushing for better controls and governance.
As the pandemic took hold on a global scale, no sector was unaffected. However, some were – unsurprisingly – more impacted than others; the service industry suffered a huge and abrupt fall in demand and, as a result, recruitment freezes were imposed. By contrast, businesses in other sectors were able to continue executing their hiring plans – most notably those in technology, life sciences and consumer.
Following the first wave, the Asian economy began to recover towards the end of Q2 and businesses started to reactivate their recruitment plans. Continental Europe is showing similar signs of recovery, whereas the US continues to move from peak to trough as businesses try to navigate their way through the scale of what is being experienced. Of course, some states are more affected than others and we have seen encouraging pockets of recovery.
Notwithstanding these market dynamics, there is still healthy demand for specialists in transfer pricing, and in compliance and reporting. There has also been a marked focus on cash tax; unsurprising, given the environment. Tax professionals looking to move role can be encouraged by these signs. Equally, companies looking to hire should bear in mind that now is an excellent chance to attract top, specialised talent in a market were competition has subsided.
If you’re in a position to hire, or are considering a career move, don’t be put off by process-es being conducted online. Day to day, we’ve all adapted to this new way of working, and recruitment processes are no different. In fact, feedback suggests that both candidates and clients find the virtual recruitment process slicker; there is more flexibility around the timing of interviews, and the conversations are more focussed and structured.
For advice on hiring strategies, your career or just to hear more about the market please do get in touch for a confidential discussion.