Hong Kong Employers Continue to Invest in Training as a Strategy to Attract and Retain Staff

Hong Kong companies have continued to invest in employee training and development to respond to changing market demand and as a strategy to attract talent and retain staff, according to the Hong Kong Institute of Human Resource Management’s (HKIHRM) “2016 Training and Development Needs Survey.”

The survey found that Hong Kong employers allocated an average of 3.4% of employees’ annual salaries in 2016 as the training and development budget, the same as in 2015. The 2016 survey was conducted in March and April 2017, polling 103 companies from 18 industry and business sectors covering over 53,000 full-time employees.

Training Budget and Training Hours Remain Stable

Seventy-one percent of the 103 responding companies indicated that a training and development budget had been allocated to training and development in 2016. The amount of the training and development budget was equivalent to an average of 3.4% of employees’ annual base salaries in 2016.

It was the second highest figure in the past decade. Of all business sectors covered in the survey, construction/real estate property development (8.1%), banking/financial services/insurance (5.2%), business services/professional services (4.4%), transport/transport services/logistics (4.4%), retail (3.8%) recorded a training budget percentage higher than the average figure.

Training Hours

Seventy-one companies provided data on training hours. While the average number of training hours per employee per annum in 2016 was 18.3 hours, slightly down 0.2 hour from 2015, but it remained at a stable level over the past several years.

In terms of business sectors, employees in public utilities/statutory bodies (41.0 hours per annum), telecommunication (24.0 hours per annum), banking/financial services/insurance (21.7 hours per annum), and transport/transport services/logistics (19.5 hours per annum) were provided with more training hours than the average figure.

Budget Allocation

The survey also found that a slightly larger proportion of the training budget was allocated to non-management grade employees (54%) than to those at management level (46%) in 2016. A larger proportion of training budget was allocated to non-management staff in most sectors covered in the survey except in manufacturing sector (48%).

Key Training Areas – by staff level

For employees at senior management level, training was focused on improving ethics/ conduct/ corporate governance/compliance, and strategic thinking.

For employees at middle management/professional level, training was focused on building effective teams, and people management.

For employees at supervisory/general/frontline level, training was focused on enhancing knowledge of products and services and customer service.

Talent Development Programmes

Fifty-seven percent of the 103 responding companies reported that they had talent development programmes in the top three areas of “local/overseas training & development programmes,” “development plans of high potential staff,” and “local job rotation/project assignment.”

All responding companies in the public utilities/ statutory bodies, and transport/transport services/logistics sectors had talent development programmes in place. Larger companies (with 1,000 employees or more) were reported to have a higher percentage of talent development programmes in place.

Leveraging Internal Training Resources 

Training practices that leveraged internal resources were most commonly adopted by companies in 2016 such as on-the-job training (97%), followed by in-house training and development programmes (86%), coaching/ mentoring by internal practitioners (68%), and internal knowledge sharing events (64%).

This trend will continue into 2017, as evidenced by the survey findings. Meanwhile, learning technology will see rapid growth of 13 percentage points in 2017, from 48% in 2016, the highest growth rate among the other training practices.

The results also indicate that providing learning technology training programmes by companies has been on a steady upward trend in recent years, with 60% of the responding companies reporting to have learning technology programmes in place.

By business sector, learning technology programmes were more prevalent among companies in sectors including public utilities/statutory bodies (100%), transport services/logistics (83%), banking/financial services/insurance (80%), property management (75%) and telecommunication (75%) in 2016.

On the other hand, retail (41%) and construction/real estate property development (17%) were relatively less likely to have such programmes available.

Regarding the types of learning technology training platforms, online training videos was the most commonly used learning technology tool with 65% of respondents using it, followed by webinars/ virtual classrooms training (31%).

Key Business Objectives in Formulating Training Plans in 2017

Enhancing leadership and people management competencies (60%), reinforcing corporate culture to achieve strategic business goals (44%), and building leadership bench strength and pipeline through talent management (43%) were the top three business objectives that would drive the responding companies to formulate their training plans in 2017. 




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