Cogs’ Hong Kong office was set up 5 years ago and has been relentlessly busy right from their inception. Despite only a team of 12 people, they’ve continued to make Cogs’ HK a successful venture. We caught up with Director Damien Bell to get the latest goings-on in our Hong Kong office.
Damien says “It hasn’t always been an easy market for us to grow in as I think we’ve sometimes found it hard to keep up with the growth just because we can’t find the talent. But we’ve created an organic and sustainable business model which is working well”.
As you’d expect, Damien is very considerate about the immediate location he works in and this continues through to the structure of the business by him deliberately hiring people from the domestic market, partly to create local jobs but also to develop local talent pools and ensure credibility with the local market.
Over the last 12 months the Hong Kong team have had a refresh in terms of structure. This reshaping saw a much more senior level consulting team brought in, for both the China and Hong Kong market. So now there is much more experience and expertise to continue to deliver the service levels we champion as a business.
The Cogs’ HK office’s organisational structure continues to evolve and grow into a more robust team. They’ve also expanded and diversified their service offering to accommodate the increase in demand for emerging skill sets.
With a more senior and sophisticated team, the HK office are focusing their efforts on UX, technology, data science, project management and production, strategic consulting and strategic engagement, marketing, content, social media and design.
When it comes to trends in digital, HK isn’t as mature, advanced or sophisticated as some other markets. It’s often seen as conservative and transactional. But businesses in Hong Kong are now bringing in greater digital capabilities internally, this is often with more of a focus on businesses looking to deliver initiatives and projects from within. As opposed to being reliant on agency partners.
As a result, Cogs HK is working increasingly with corporates and consultancy firms. The agency market in HK is currently small, it’s struggling with identity and advertising here is a more stagnant market.
The focus tends to be more on performance-based marketing channels, whether that’s SEO, paid search, CRM and loyalty – whatever is measurable.
What’s evident now is that the quality of homegrown Hong Kong talent has vastly improved. Grassroots talent in Hong Kong is now far more upskilled and advanced than it was 2 to 3 years ago.
But there is often still a need to bring in talent from international markets purely because there are emerging and in demand disciplines that still require thought leaders and expertise from more evolved markets, but also because there is so much demand.
So, what’s the current Hong Kong digital jobs market like?
Damien Bell says “the current Hong Kong digital jobs market is good. It remains buoyant. The challenge for most businesses is the level of mobility. In a market that is so competitive and talent supply scarce, businesses need to think strategically about how to attract and retain talent. ”
‘But it’s a two way street. The dynamics of the market are changing. Standards are improving, expectations are higher in businesses and job seekers needs to align.”
Going forward, Cogs’ HK team will continue to build upon their reputation as an expert and a specialist within their domain. Their focus is to continue to be effective for clients and add value to the talent market. Building on the foundations they already have in place.
And while the HK office continues to grow organically, their China capability is also to taking shape with an established PRC team in HK and an imminent China office launch.
This will most likely be in Shanghai or Shenzhen. While our current center of gravity is Shanghai, Shenzhen makes sense as it’s considered the ‘tech hub’ of China.
- Cogs Story