Financial Turmoil, The HK Economy & English Skills

Is the financial turmoil created by the sub-prime mortgage fallout in the USA having an effect in Hong Kong?

On the surface it would seem that there is little change in day to day life here. There are still lots of people shopping and lots of job adverts in the newspapers. And lots of new cars buzzing around the city.

But the uncertainty about the global economy may be leading to layoffs here as well. HSBC recently axed 1100 jobs in its global banking and markets operations, but most of these were in the UK and only 100 jobs would be lost in Hong Kong. That is good news in this day and age of US and European bank failures and take-overs. But will more job cuts follow? No one really knows. And it is this uncertainty which is most worrying.

However, with the stock markets around the world in turmoil the uncertainty faced by many companies will surely lead to more hesitation in hiring new staff.

A recent survey by the Hong Kong Institute of Human Resources Management also indicated that is is more difficult to find jobs in certain industries. A press release stated that the areas most heavily affected by reduced availability of positions were Manufacturing, Business & professional services and the Wholesale, Import and export trading sectors which had a drop of up to 1.63%. (Second Quarter 2008 Survey of
Manpower Statistics, http://www.hkihrm.org).

All of this leads to the conclusion that employers are likely to be more selective and choosy about who they employ. And one of the areas they will be most concerned about in these areas must surely be English language skills. After all English is the language of global business.

Its a good time to start to improve your business English skills. Since English is so important in the workplace and for career advancement, the best way is to take an English course to gain confidence in speaking as well as improve English business writing skills.