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Hong Kong HR professionals are in a unique position to turn challenges into career steps

Published on Saturday, 27 Feb 2016
Tanya Lau is director of the consumer and retail practice for Asia-Pacific at Harvey Nash.

Human resources professionals in Hong Kong are more troubled by recruitment challenges, less focused on employee engagement and less satisfied with the image of HR than global averages, according to a recent global survey – but are in the unique position to set global best practices.

The Harvey Nash HR Survey 2016, which gathered the views of 1,250 HR staff from around the world, also found that 24 per cent of HR staff in Hong Kong plan to move switch jobs in the next 12 months, compared to just 6 per cent of their counterparts in the Asia-Pacific region.

Tanya Lau, director of the consumer and retail practice for Asia-Pacific at Harvey Nash, believes that greater recruitment challenges in Hong Kong–where 68 per cent of local HR staff expect recruitment challenges in the next two years compared to a global average of 57 per cent – results in the city having some of the world’s best HR people. 

“Hong Kong faces unique challenges in the world of talent management,” Lau says. “With such a low unemployment rate, competition for the best talent is a constant battle. HR leaders in Hong Kong need to work smarter and be more resilient than those in other markets, which is why we have some of the world’s best HR leaders based here.”

She adds that while expectations of recruitment challenges in the city are higher than the global average, they have dropped since previous years.

“If we look at Hong Kong’s results in 2014, we actually see that HR professionals were expecting more recruitment challenges 12 months ago (82 per cent) compared to this year (68 per cent),”she says.

Overall the survey found that, globally, HR is going “back to basics” this year. HR professionals will be focused on the fundamentals of the function sector, with the top three priorities globally identified as talent management (61 per cent), employee engagement (60 per cent) and recruitment (58 per cent).

A total of 20 per cent of global respondents planned to move seek new jobs in the next 12 months. While Hong Kong registered a figure of nearly one-quarter – significantly higher than the Asia-Pacific average – Lau says it is simply a cyclical trend in talent mobility. 

“Last year a high number of respondents said they planned to move in one to two years (38 per cent) and three to five years (38 per cent). Now, a year later, we can assume that those respondents have stayed consistent and now plan to move jobs within the next 12 months, in line with the findings of the 2014 survey. The Hong Kong findings are more closely aligned to the global trends this year.”

Lau believes that Hong Kong offers fantastic opportunities for HR professionals looking to spearhead new programmes and innovative talent management solutions, and that people here working in the sector here have a great opportunity to stand out and significantly advance their careers.

She uses the city’s high-intensity working environment as an example. “Hong Kong, arguably more than any other city, suffers from a distorted work-life balance. In this hectic world of 24/7 connectivity, where executives often struggle to manage multiple competing pressures alongside their high-powered day jobs, it’s essential that organisations help their employees maintain a sense of balance.

“Work is still regarded as the main source of stress across the globe. HR leaders in Hong Kong have the opportunity to set the example, as they are responsible for helping those within their organisation to best manage their time and wellbeing.” 


This article appeared in the Classified Post print edition as Turning challenges into career steps for HR staff.

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