Hong Kong recruiters are struggling to hire overseas graduates for the financial services and legal industry in another sign the Asian hub is losing its luster.

Amid a clampdown on dissent and stringent "COVID zero" policies, the Chinese territory has seen an exodus of experienced financial professionals. Now headhunters say junior talent for investment banks and law firms is also harder to find and retain, with global recruitment firm Ambition reporting a 40% decline in candidates for entry-level positions compared to before the pandemic.

Among those leaving Hong Kong is 21-year-old Goldman Sachs analyst Sparsh Singhal, who is relocating to Singapore just one year after graduating so he can visit his family in Indonesia without the hassle of quarantine. "I didn’t really want to leave Hong Kong,” he said. "But every time I think of going back to visit my family or they think about coming here, quarantine just takes up all of our leave.”