Finance and Accounting Hiring Boom Could Hamper Retention Efforts

Most (94%) employers in Hong Kong are concerned with losing top performers to other job opportunities following the payout of bonuses in the first half of the year 2011, according to the latest Robert Half Workplace Survey. This percentage is well above the regional Asia Pacific average of 75%.


The Robert Half Workplace Survey conducted in Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia, and New Zealand, also reveals a hiring boom across the Asia Pacific, with 41% of employers across the region planning to add staff and 9% expecting to reduce staffing levels, resulting in a net 32% projected hiring increase.


In Hong Kong, a net 38% of employers said they plan to hire full-time finance and accounting professionals during the first half of this year and a net 35% also indicated that they will increase temporary or contract staff in the first half of 2011. According to the survey, the top four functional areas in which Hong Kong employers plan to hire include accounting (54%), finance (57%), operational support (30%) and banking (45%).


The survey showed that middle managers and entry-level staff are the most sought by Hong Kong employers, with 68% and 61% of respondents planning to bring these professionals on board, respectively.  This compares to 18% who said they plan to hire senior management staff.


“As hiring activity in the finance industry heats up, employees have more employment options. To prevent top performers from jumping ship, companies may need to enhance their retention efforts, particularly if bonus payouts did not match staff expectations,” says Andrew Morris, Managing Director of Greater China, Robert Half International.


Morris adds that offering competitive pay, setting realistic bonus expectations and outlining career paths for key players can help foster loyalty and prevent turnover, which can be costly to a company. “There’s a high price to turnover, both in terms of losing skills and institutional knowledge, as well as the time, effort and resources required to replace employees,” he said.


According to the survey, it takes employers in Hong Kong an average of seven weeks to fill entry-level finance and accounting positions, and nine to 12 weeks to fill middle and senior management positions.




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