Regional Director, Hudson Hong Kong
Rethinking talent acquisition strategies
Hong Kong business confidence appears to be in a positive mode with employers across the board signalling a strong hiring intention for the rest of the year. The latest Hudson Talent Trends Asia report, conducted in October 2017 to ask employers and employees about their expectations for 2018, (unless otherwise stated, data and statistics in this article are derived from this survey) found that almost half (44%) of surveyed employers reported that they will be increasing headcount this year.
Against a backdrop of Hong Kong’s extremely low unemployment rate of 2.9% in the three months to January 2018, and employers’ search for talent, employees in Hong Kong are aware that the job market is in their favour and that they have many options. The Hudson Talent Trends Asia report found that a quarter of employees are currently actively seeking a new job and over half (56%) of employees surveyed were open to new opportunities. Yet there is also an increase in those who are planning to stay in their roles (20%). This probably has something to do with the fact that most employers are willing to pay more to attract and retain their top talent. Hudson’s research also found that 47% of employers agreed that they need to pay more to attract new hires, with 69% of employers reporting they expect to pay more to attract and hire talent than they did a year ago. As a consequence, employees are keeping an eye out for potential change of job options, but as long as their employers can match a counter-offer, they may be happy to stay.
Understanding employee expectations and preferences
With over a half of employees surveyed looking for new opportunities, the Hudson’s Talent Trends Asia report examined what attracts employees to leave a role and what fails to keep them in it. The main reasons for leaving a role or the “push” factors were lack of career progression (24.5%), disappointment with salary (22.9%) and bored and need a new challenge (15.5%). Meanwhile, what attracted employees to a new role, or the “pull” factors were: the right salary (31.8%), career progression (17.9%) and work/life balance including flexible working arrangements (16.3%). When it comes to salary expectations, at their next review, 75% of employees surveyed said that they expected an increase of 1-10% of their base salary. At the top end of expectations, 14.6% of respondents expected a 10% increase or more. The majority, 42.9%, expected an increase of 0-5% while 32.4% expect an increase of 6-10%.
Workplace technologies raise employee concerns
Faced with competition from technologies integrated into the workplace, employees are looking for opportunities that will help them advance their careers and provide them with an employability edge. Salary is important, but so too is the employee need to feel ready and equipped for the future. As technology and AI replace repetitive tasks that don’t require out-of-the-box thinking, it will be the “human elements” of an employee that set them apart from AI and robots. While employers will be able to acquire machines to tackle routine tasks, it will become more difficult to find employees who excel in soft skills. Consequently, if they want to hold onto their top talent, it is important for employers to offer plenty of opportunities for their employees to up-skill and refine their soft skills. If such opportunities are not offered, employers shouldn’t be surprised if their employees are tempted to look elsewhere.
This article originally appeared in the April 2018 issue of Human Resources as: Rethinking Talent Acquisition Strategies to Respond to Employee Driven Market. It is reproduced with permission from HKIHRM and Classified Post.