Higher staff turnover, job vacancy rate and hiring intentions signal a vibrant labour market in an economy with a promising outlook. The active employment movement was reflected by the findings in the Quarterly Survey on Manpower Statistics - First Quarter 2011 conducted by the Hong Kong Institute of Human Resource Management (HKIHRM).
“While the local economy continued to flourish, employee turnover and job vacancy rates both showed an upward trend, reflecting a more active labour market especially in Q1, which is traditionally a peak season for job seeking. Some sectors which experienced more prominent growth, including community/social/personal services, retail and financial services/banking/insurance, particularly recorded higher turnover and vacancy rates,” says Francis Mok, President of the HKIHRM.
The overall turnover rate for Q1 2011 was 3.5%, 0.8 percentage point higher than Q4 2010 (2.7%) and 0.96 percentage point higher than Q1 2010 (2.54%).
The community/social/personal services sector recorded the highest turnover (6.6%, highest the first time for this sector in this survey), followed by retail (6.3%) and financial services/banking/insurance (5.8%) [Chart 2]. In terms of employee level, the highest turnover rate was among the clerical/frontline level (4.6%, a continuous trend since Q2 2007).
The overall job vacancy rate for Q1 2011 was 5.2%, 1.5 percentage points higher than Q4 2010 (3.7%) and 2.14 percentage points higher than Q1 2010 (3.06%).
The community/social/personal services sector recorded the highest vacancy rate (10.6%), followed by engineering (9.7%) and financial services/banking/insurance (5.8%). In terms of employee level, the highest vacancy rate was found in the clerical/frontline level (5.9%).
The net growth in new positions during Q1 2011 was 1.2%, 0.5 percentage point higher than Q4 2010 (0.7%) and 0.36 percentage point higher than Q1 2010 (0.84%).
The highest net growth in job positions was recorded in the manufacturing sector (2.9%), followed by business/professional services (2.4%) and wholesale/import & export/trading & distribution (2.3%). In terms of employee level, the highest net growth was recorded in the middle management/non-managerial professionals level (2.1%).
Among the 93 participating companies, 65 companies provided data on staff absence, covering 48,795 employees. The absence rate in Q1 2011 was 1.9%, 0.2 percentage point higher than Q4 2010 (1.7%). 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 community/social/personal services sector recorded the highest absence rate (4.4%), followed by engineering (2.6%) and transport/services allied to transport (storage) (1.9%). In terms of employee level, the clerical/frontline level recorded the highest absence rate (2.2%).
Hiring Intention in Q2 2011
Among the 91 companies which provided data on their hiring intentions for Q2 2011, 31.9% companies intended to increase hiring and 58.2% companies intended to remain hiring in Q2 2011 as of Q1 2011. Only 8.8% intended to freeze hiring and 1.1% intended to reduce hiring.
The construction/property development/real estate sector recorded the highest hiring intentions (66.7%) among all sectors surveyed, followed by electricity/gas/petrol (50%) and transport/services allied to transport (storage) (44.4%).
During the survey period (Jan to Mar 2011), the impact of minimum wage and rising inflation was not yet fully evaluated. However, the negative sentiment brought by the natural and nuclear disasters in Japan was observed. “Although the survey results revealed hiring intentions remained positive, employers at large still have to look closely at certain external factors when making their hiring plans, which include the tightening of credit control in China, performance of the US economy and employment market, as well as the renewed concern about the fiscal sustainability of some European countries. The cost impact brought by minimum wage and a higher expectation on pay rise because of inflation is still uncertain. Employers may have to be more cautious while reviewing their manpower strategies at a time when attracting and retaining talent is the order of the day,” concludes Mok.
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