Hong Kong Employers Spending More on Staff Training, Development

Employees’ training and development needs are being greatly addressed with a higher average number of training hours and continuous corporate commitment to training budget, according to the 2011 Training and Development Needs Survey by the Hong Kong Institute of Human Resource Management (HKIHRM).


A total of 121 companies, employing over 139,000 full-time employees, joined the 2011 Survey conducted during the period from June to August 2011.


The average number of training hours per employee per annum rebounded from the record low of 17.9 hours in 20101 to 19.9 hours this year. Eighty-nine percent of respondents indicated that their employees received on average more than five hours of training per annum.


The retail sector provided the highest number of training hours (28.3 hours), followed by business services/professional services (26 hours), and transport/logistics (21.1 hours).


Investment in Training and Development

According to the survey, 95 companies indicated that they had a training and development budget for 2011. The proportion of training and development budget to total annual base salary was 2.7% on average (reported by 80 companies), 0.1 percentage point lower than that in 2010 (2.8%).


The construction/real estate/property development sector allocated the highest budget (5.9%).  The wholesale, import/export, trading, distribution sector reported the lowest budget (2.1%). 


“The survey results showed that companies realized the importance of employee training by continuously spending on development programmes while the average number of training hours per employee per annum bounced back this year,” says Francis Mok, President of the HKIHRM and Co-chairperson of its Learning and Development Committee.


Training Topics

Talent development programmes continued to focus on “development of high potential leaders/managers” (80% of 90 responding companies) and “development of high potential employees” (70% of 90 responding companies).


“Ethics/conduct/corporate governance” remained one of the top five important training topics for all levels of employee.


This year, “developing talent” was identified as one of the top five important training topics for senior management, first time since this topic was first tracked in 2010.


“Greater focus on talent development and staff potential indicates that in a global war for talent, there are increasing difficulties in recruiting top talent," says Chester Tsang, Co-chairperson of the Learning and Development Committee of the HKIHRM.


"Companies tended to strengthen their own workforce by exploring staff potential across different work levels. It is important to maintain a well-trained and high-performance workforce who can help with their employers’ sustainability under different economic situations.” 


The top three challenges indicated by 117 responding companies are:


1. Training and development priority overshadowed by other business priorities (49.6%)
2. Lacking a systematic process to survey training needs (39.3%)
3. Soliciting full support and championship from management (34.2%)


Judging from the top three challenges, it is found that management support and the ability to identify training needs are important factors affecting staff development programmes.


“Organisations with vision will always highlight the value of training. Although ‘doing more with less’ has become the formula in most businesses nowadays, we believe that training and talent development can tie in with a company’s business priorities, instead of competing with them. A capable and effective workforce can always be relied upon to meet a company’s strategic objectives,” concludes Mok.




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