According to a recent survey of the Hong Kong construction market released by the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors, more than 90 per cent of respondents indicated skills shortages across all areas. The greater dearth of talent in Hong Kong’s construction industry indicates that the recruitment market will become more competitive. In response, employers are introducing talent-development schemes and competitive packages to attract and retain staff.
The two-year People Development Programme at property developer K Wah International was launched in 2012. It covers a full range of training that aims to nurture aspiring managers.
The four main areas of the professional training programme focus on developing the leadership, visionary, functional and managerial skills of participants.
“Participants in the programme play a leadership role in their jobs and the skills help them lead their team to achieve goals,” says a spokesperson for the company. “By understanding the current state and trends of the industry, they can be more visionary and progress with time.”
Training in the development of functional skills is designed to strengthen participants’ professional competence in the construction sector, where managerial skills will help them inspire and cooperate with teams.
The programme aims to meet the current professional needs of the property industry and to strengthen the company’s management qualities. Participants are recommended by their immediate supervisors and will undergo a rigorous selection process. Promising candidates must also pass a series of exams and performance evaluations.
The group is currently looking for talent in different business functions, including sales and marketing, project management, design, and business development.
“We attach particular importance to three aspects of candidates,” the spokesperson says. “First is the knowledge level. They should demonstrate a market sense, flexibility and creativity.
“Second, professional skills. The criteria may be adjusted according to the position applied for, but in general they need to show management and communication skills.
“Finally, their personal qualities. We expect them to match the company philosophy and values, and demonstrate integrity, enthusiasm, and a willingness to take responsibility.”
Currently, K Wah is involved in more than 20 projects in mainland China and Hong Kong, and the demand for talent is high. In view of the intense competition in the real estate industry – with project management particularly competitive – the group hopes to attract more professionals by offering competitive compensation and benefits subject to regular review and optimisation procedures.
“In addition to the usual measures to retain people, we believe that a happy and harmonious working environment is equally important,” the spokesperson says.
The K Wah Group has established within its office a training and recreation area, where work-related and recreational activities can take place. Family members of staff are invited to take part in company activities, as the group believes family-friendly policies are increasingly important.
“We also organise volunteers to participate in corporate social responsibility activities, including social services such as tree-planting, and public service activities such as walkathons, to help the needy in the community, as well as to promote friendship among colleagues,” the spokesperson says.