THE BOOMING ECONOMY in Hong Kong has spurred demand for marketing professionals across the board.
'Companies want to market aggressively when the economy is strong to maximise income,' said Tracey Nicole Batty, country manager at recruitment specialist Kelly Services. 'Last year the generalist manager was hired, but we are now seeing demand for more specialist positions.'
In particular, there has been a noticeable upturn in the recruitment of specialists in advertising, communications and public relations, as well as in the areas of research and market intelligence services.
Cheong Shin-keong, chairman of the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM), Hong Kong, said that demand was inevitably greater in certain sectors and that banking and financial services was one of the hottest in new positions for marketing professionals. He added that people with experience of high-end luxury consumer goods were also in demand.
According to Deborah Morgan, director of Hong Kong operations for Manpower Hong Kong, the technology industry will offer interesting openings for candidates with suitable qualifications and experience.
'As technology companies continue to grow, marketing professionals with specific skills and knowledge in web-based, online and interactive media will be in demand,' she said, adding that branding and public relations were likely to grow as well.
'We have also noticed an increase in the past three to six months of companies looking to hire more specialists in internal communications,' Ms Morgan said. 'This is indicative of the importance of employee engagement in [keeping] staff.'
Ms Batty said the marketing function could play a key role in staff retention and motivation by helping to promote core values. 'Marketing is not just about reaching out to external customers. [It] includes using internal communication to promote common values, ethics and the culture of an organisation.'
Hong Kong is a regional base for many multinationals keen to expand in China, so more exciting new opportunities will be created.
Mr Cheong said that many of these would emerge in the area of fast-moving consumer goods as the mainland market expanded and sales in supermarkets continued to surge.
He said mainland consumers were growing more sophisticated and developing more individual product preferences. Candidates for these marketing positions needed good commercial acumen and must work well in teams.
Marketing mix refers to the four major areas of decision making in the marketing process. Known as the 'four Ps', they are:
Product Range of goods and services offered
Price What consumers will pay for a product or service
Place Where the product needs to be available to generate sales
Promotion Informing target buyers about the company and its products by advertising, promotional campaigns and public relations