A lack of skilled people is weighting on business growth prospects, according to the latest research from the Grant Thornton International Business Report (IBR).
Almost a third (32%) of local businesses are struggling to recruit the right talent, below the global average 39%. Almost three-quarters of Hong Kong business leaders experiencing recruitment difficulties cite a lack of technical skills in candidates (72%) as a key concern.
This is also the key concern globally (64%). A further 63% of local businesses cite a lack of employability skills – such as teamwork and communication – and 59% a lack of work experience.
More encouragingly, 62% of local businesses do not believe that they have any staff retention problems, ranking second globally on this measure behind only Denmark.
“The concern is that a lack of talent will dampen business productivity, ultimately threatening future growth and profitability," says Daniel Lin, managing partner at Grant Thornton Hong Kong. "Plugging the skills from outside of the organisation would ease the pressure in the short term, however, in the long run, businesses will have to invest in their training programmes to mould the people that will help them deliver on strategy, innovate and ultimately grow.”
Lin adds that the government could also step in to support businesses, mainly those SMEs without the resources to establish their own training programme. It could be done in forms of subsidies, which allow businesses to select the most relevant training programmes for their people and their business needs.
“A business is nothing without its people. A great team with an average plan will be far more successful than an average team with a great plan. The best people increase productivity, save an organisation time and money and ultimately grow the business. So in the long-term, business leaders need to be confident that their own training programmes will be able to deliver talent sustainably.”