Economic uncertainty: Three quarters of professionals prepare to look for another job; more than a quarter have a side hustle for extra income

HONG KONG SAR - Media OutReach - 3 August 2023 - Amid fears over widespread layoffs and hiring freezes, career cushioning has become a recent workplace trend. The term which refers to the process of being proactive about your career prospects to "soften the blow" should anything go wrong with your current job – is a phenomenon that Robert Walters, the world-leading specialist professionals recruitment consultancy, believes has grown in prominence as Hong Kong struggle to maintain financial stability in the face of global economic recession.

According to a recent survey of Hong Kong professionals about their career plans amidst economic uncertainty, almost three quarters (74%) of professionals have admitted to taking steps to "prepare to look for another job". 68% of professionals "career cushion" because of the changes in the macroeconomic situation and workplace instability – reasons include internal changes within their business (29%), the lack of job security from their company (22%) and turbulent economic conditions (17%).

John Mullally, Managing Director of Robert Walters Hong Kong says, "In light of the recent downturn in the job market, employees are taking measures to protect their long-term career interests and earning capabilities. This typically involves actively or, at least, passively searching for opportunities in the market".

Cushioning tactics in full flow

When asked what type of tactics workers were taking to create a "career cushion", applying (66%) and monitoring jobs market (61%) came out on top.

Most common tactics for 'career cushioning'
Applying for jobs
Monitoring jobs market
CV prep
Networking more
Upskilling / Training
Adopting side hustles

The grass isn't always greener.

It is worth noting that more than 40% of professionals have realised the value of their employer after exploring the job market and assessing their own skills – with a further 10% admitting that they have discovered their current employer pays better than the market average. While "career cushioning" does not necessarily mean an employee will leave their current job, exploring opportunities elsewhere can serve as a reminder that the grass is not always greener on the other side.

Side-hustle for extra income

Other than their regular full-time job, 28% of professionals adopt side hustles as a way to monetise their skills and expand income sources, according to the survey by Robert Walters Hong Kong. When asked how the extra money is used, 33% of the side-hustlers needed the income to pay for their living expenses, 22% put the extra income into their savings, 22% do the work for passion while 11% use it for discretionary spending.

John adds, "People are dedicating time to entrepreneurial endeavours that provide income in case their current employment situation is affected. This phenomenon is driven by their uncertainty about the short to medium-term future, not only within their current organisation, but also in the Hong Kong job market in general."

Hashtag: #RobertWaltersHongKong

About Robert Walters Hong Kong
About Robert Walters Hong Kong
Established in 1985, Robert Walters is one of the world's leading specialist professional recruitment consultancies spanning 31 markets. The Hong Kong office specialises in placing candidates on a permanent basis in the following specialities: accounting & finance, engineering & property, financial services, healthcare, human resources, legal & compliance, sales & marketing, supply chain, logistics & procurement, and tech & transformation.

Robert Walters Hong Kong


Human Resource


03 Aug 2023



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