Hong Kong Employers Becoming More Prudent in Hiring

Facing a turbulent global economy, Hong Kong employers are becoming more prudent in hiring. For Q2 2013, hiring intentions slowed down across different sectors, according to the findings in the Quarterly Survey on Manpower Statistics – First Quarter 2013 conducted by the Hong Kong Institute of Human Resource Management (HKIHRM).


“In Q1 2013, we saw some factors leading to uncertainties in the global economy, which included a change in Japan’s economic policies, signs of US economic recovery and the fluctuating economic figures of mainland China," says Francis Mok, President of the HKIHRM. "Our manpower statistics survey in Q1 2013 showed that staff turnover had continued to drop. This may be partly explained by a slackening of business activities in some sectors. However, the retail sector was an exception, which recorded the highest turnover rate (7.5%) and vacancy rate (12%).”


The top three sectors with the highest turnover rate were retail (7.5%), construction/property development/real estate (6.2%), and
community/social/personal services (5.0%).


In terms of employee level, clerical/frontline staff recorded the highest turnover rate (3.9%, a continuous trend since Q2 2007).


The top three sectors with the highest vacancy rate were retail (12.0%), community/social/personal services (6.3%), and construction/property development/real estate (5.3%).


In terms of employee level, clerical/frontline staff recorded the highest vacancy rate at 4.7%.


The net growth in new positions during Q1 2013 was 0.9% (weighted average), 0.1 percentage point higher than Q4 2012 and Q1 2012 (both at 0.8%).


The top three sectors with the highest net growth in job positions were diversified conglomerates (2.2%), business services/professional services (2.0%), and financial services/banking/insurance (1.6%).


In terms of employee level, middle management/non-managerial professionals recorded the highest position growth rate at 2.0%.


Among the 101 participating companies, 69 companies provided data on staff absence. In the survey, “absence” is defined as unscheduled absences of one or more than one day including sick leave (paid or no paid), emergency leave and casual leave.


The absence rate in Q1 2013 was 1.5% (weighted average), 0.6 percentage point lower than Q4 2012 (2.1%) and 0.4 percentage point lower than Q1 2012 (1.9%).


The top three sectors with the highest absence rate are other business activities (2.9%), manufacturing (2.3%), and engineering (2.2%).


In terms of employee level, the clerical/frontline staff recorded the highest absence rate at 1.9% (a continuous trend since Q3 2009).


Hiring Intentions for Q2 2013
Among the 101 participating companies, 97 companies provided data on their hiring intentions for Q2 2013.


The top five sectors reporting strongest intentions to increase hiring were other business activities (50.0%), construction/property development/real estate (42.9%), business services/professional services (33.3%), telecommunication (33.3%), and diversified conglomerates (33.3%).


Hiring intentions among the respondents slowed slightly when compared with the first quarter of the year. Sectors more affected by external economic climate showed higher intention to freeze or even reduce hiring, such as manufacturing, wholesale/import/export/ trading/distribution, and retail.


"In recent months, people have been speculating on the US Government’s intention to withdraw its quantitative easing measures. Such uncertainty will certainly affect business sentiment. HR professionals will have to keep an eye on this development to ensure that any short-, middle- and long-term manpower planning can tie in with business prospects,” says Mok.

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