Hong Kong employers are finding IT roles the third most difficult category of positions to fill amid an ongoing skills shortage, according to ManpowerGroup.

The company's ninth annual talent shortage survey shows that 56% of Hong Kong employers are experiencing difficulty finding candidates with the right skills. While this is down 1% from 2013, it is also well above the global average of 36%.

IT staff ranked only below sales representatives and accounting/finance staff as the most in-demand employees in Hong Kong in 2014.

ManpowerGroup regional managing director for Greater China Lancy Chui said IT has climbed from the eighth most difficult position to fill in 2009. The increase is due to "growth in demand of IT professionals across a spectrum of IT segments," she said.

"Expanding technologies have allowed individuals and business to work more productively and efficiently; as such, employers - particularly financial sector employers - are concerned over their ability to hire the required staff to support this sector."

Laborers, engineers and administrative staff are also in high demand, as are risk and compliance officers, management staff and customer services representatives.

A lack of available applicants is the main reason jobs are not being filled (52%), followed by candidates looking for more pay than offered (22%). In the face of these challenges, employers are adopting non-traditional people practices and exploring new talent sources.