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A view of the Hong Kong UX Talent Landscape

26 Oct 04:00 by Leo Chak

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Coming from an interior design background, I didn’t know much about UX and Service Design before I took a bold change into recruitment. Like others, it didn’t occur to me how much work and strategy is put into digi-tal products and all kind of services.
I have been privileged to learn about UX on the job and when I first started in 2015, back then, agencies and consultancies were the boss - big clients, big projects and big talent demands. Every client was splashing out to be “innovative”. There were of course start-ups and corporations in the mix, but from a talent perspec-tive, I’d say around 70% of my placements came from agencies and consultancies in 2015/16.


How the market shifted in the past 2 years?

One interesting thing I learnt about Experience Design is that it can be applied in many industries if compa-nies are willing to invest; though it’s been challenging for some teams to get budget approval because Expe-rience Design is often a long-term investment rather than a short-term gain. That said, we are seeing more and more commitment from businesses this year which is very exciting for the UX industry.

Hong Kong ‘s talent pool is consistently shifting, from agencies to consultancies to in-house teams. This year I am seeing much of in-house hires, especially from Financial Services. There’s a trend for “digital transfor-mation” teams, where company would put together a lean specialist team for high-level product strategy and to lead vendors on implementation and development.

Another main objective of the in-house team is to get internal buy-in, where insights and stake-holder man-agement is key. Clients need their designers to be well articulated in their design process and designers need to be able to influence and educate people to think UX. In my opinion, one of the differences between a good designer and a great designer is the ability to bring people onto your design journey and to clearly demonstrate your thought process.


Talent pool in Hong Kong

UX Design strategist, UX researcher, Digital Customer Experience Designer – these are all in high demand. With the limited talent pool in Hong Kong, clients are usually very open minded. Most clients are open to re-location and Visa sponsorship and they will consider candidates from different industry backgrounds and very often consider less experienced but excellent candidates. For example, I’ve placed a candidate with no prior financial services h experience into a huge banking client, another candidate from start-up product to consul-tancy and many more. UX thinking is so adaptable you can almost get into any industry with the right mind-set. If you feel passionate about the product or the company, just go for it. Don’t hesitate too much on the years of experience or even the industry. You will never know until you have tried.
 

A little Word of Advice

As we all know, there are many digital transformation projects happening, but none of these will happen overnight and some will be a rough journey. I always tell my candidates not to expect a dramatic change in the first 6 months of joining a new company, always give it sometime before you decide “nothing is going to happen here”. And most importantly, don’t reject a job opportunity based just on a Job Description, always talk to someone and find out more. Talk to me! I’m always happy to share market insights, and most of the time when candidates reach out for a specific client or role, I’ll know someone who I can reach out to or I’ll have some insiders to share!