Hong Kong legal jobs market trends 2024: New Year Predictions
Happy new year from Hong Kong and a big welcome back to all those who are back in the office after the festive break!
Just a quick note on what I see as the macros for lawyers across Asia working in international law firms, particularly in Hong Kong, to look out that could impact the regional legal recruitment market.
- Geo-politics – war in Ukraine, the growing Middle East crisis, China/US
- US POTUS elections in November
- Expected General Election in the UK with a very likely Labour victory unless Rishi Sunak can pull a rabbit out of the hat. At the very latest, the election must be held by end of Jan 2025 but the date between now and then is down to the incumbent PM.
- Interest rates and inflation – up or down
- Hong Kong property values continuing to fall
- Singapore property values continuing to rise
- Any negative news on the real estate market in China
- Values of currencies remaining low or even dropping further across Asia, particularly the Yen and RMB
- The advent of Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDC) – will this be the year when we’ll see the beginning of the end of paper money?
- The relaxation of regulations from the Chinese government on...practically anything.
My predictions for likely growth areas in the Asia legal recruitment market in 2024, mainly in major commercial law firms:
- M&A / Private Equity – a lot of funds stored over the last few years needs to be deployed and there are a lot of bargains to be had among companies with deep pockets, whatever the industry
- Regulatory – competition, FSR, investigations, trade compliance, competition
- International Arbitration
- Crypto/blockchain (PP and IH legal) – the ‘bull market’ in the crypto industry is set for lift off this year with two anticipated developments – the expected approval by the US’s SEC of Bitcoin ETFs in early Jan, perceived to be a game changer in the industry, and the Bitcoin ‘halving’ in April, which only happens every 4 years. A lot of other developments indicate that this year will see the hottest demand for crypto regulatory and other lawyers for the first time in a few years.
- An increasingly stronger focus on a sector approach by international law firms
- Privacy lawyers – a big demand in the crypto and finance spaces, particularly if my prediction that CBDCs will come onto the scene
- Funds / ESG – will this year see demand in HK for funds lawyers making a comeback?
- Private wealth – with a burgeoning market over the border in the GBA.
- Islamic Finance – surely we’ll see new products in this area in Hong Kong given the concerted push by the HK and Central governments to develop further trade connections in the Middle East and South Asia? I'm really surprised no one's talking about it.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on areas of growth this year, feel free to DM me or comment below!
This post was first published on LinkedIn in early January 2024, click here for original link.