Staff Turnover Rate in H2 2015 Slips to 10.4%; Hiring Intentions for H1 2016 Weakens

Hong Kong’s overall average staff turnover rate for the second half of 2015 was 10.4%, down 0.4 percentage point from 10.8% in the first half of 2015, according to the findings of The Half Yearly Survey on Manpower Statistics in 2015 released by the Hong Kong Institute of Human Resource Management (HKIHRM).

An average job vacancy rate of 6.5% was recorded for the second half of 2015, up 0.5 percentage point from the first half of 2015. Hiring intentions of employers for the first half of 2016 have weakened amid economic woes.

Staff turnover rate

The top three sectors with the highest staff turnover rate in the second half of 2015 were: construction/property development/real estate (24.8%); business services/professional services (17.3%); and retail (15.4%).

The top three sectors with the lowest staff turnover rate are electricity/gas/petrol (2.1%); transport/services allied to transport (storage) (2.5%); and manufacturing (5.7%).

In terms of employee level, clerical/frontline staff registered the highest turnover rate at 14.2% while the lowest turnover rate was recorded for top/senior management at 3.8%.

Job vacancy rate

The top three sectors with the highest job vacancy rate in the same period were  retail (14.2%); community/social/personal services (9.7%); and construction/property development/real estate (8.6%).

The top three sectors with the lowest job vacancy rate were business services/professional services (0.8%); electricity/gas/petrol (1.7%); and transport/services allied to transport (storage) (2.9%).

In terms of employee level, clerical/frontline-level staff was recorded the highest job vacancy rate at 7.6% while the lowest job vacancy rate was recorded for supervisory staff and officers at 3.8%.

Position Growth/Cut

The net growth in new positions during the second half of 2015 was 4.1%, down 0.7 percentage point from the first half of 2015, and up 1.6 percentage points year on year.

The top three sectors with the highest net growth in new positions were financial services/banking/insurance (8.9%); manufacturing (2.3%); and retail (2.2%).

In terms of employee level, supervisory/officer-level positions registered the highest net growth at 6.7% while positions at clerical/frontline-level had the lowest net growth at 2.5%.

Absence Rate 

Among the 93 participating companies, 70 companies provided data on staff absence. In the survey, “absence” is defined as unscheduled absence of one or more than one day including sick leave (paid or unpaid), emergency leave and casual leave.

The overall absence rate in the second half of 2015 was 1.7% (weighted average), up 0.3% percentage point from the first half of 2015. The four sectors with the highest absence rate were construction/property development/real estate (2.2%); manufacturing (2.2%); telecommunication (2.0%); and electricity/gas/petrol (2.0%).

In terms of employee level, the supervisory/officer-level staff registered the highest absence rate at 1.3%, compared with 0.8% recorded for top/senior management-level staff, which was the lowest across all staff levels.

Hiring Intentions

Meanwhile telecommunication, manufacturing, and financial services/banking/insurance were the top 3 sectors with the strongest intention to increase hiring in the first half year of 2016, while retail; wholesale, import/export, trading, distribution; and electricity/gas/petrol were the top 3 sectors with the strongest intention to freeze hiring in the first half year of 2016.

“The overall staff turnover for the second half of 2015 showed a slight decline compared with its first half data,” says David Li, President of the HKIHRM. “It indicates that employees at different job levels were more cautious about changing jobs amid Hong Kong’s economic slowdown and the slight increase in the unemployment rate."

According to the findings, the hiring intention of employers for the first half of 2016 registered a decline compared with the second half of 2015. Employers showed a stronger inclination to freeze and reduce hiring and became cautious in their recruitment in view of Hong Kong’s economic slowdown.

Only 19.4% of employers reported to increase hiring in the first half of 2016, down 2.9 percentage points from the second half of 2015, while there was a significant increase of employers opting to freeze hiring (18.3%) and reduce hiring (6.5%) in the first half of 2016, compared with the second half of 2015.

Industries that reported to increase hiring in the first half of 2016 included telecommunication, manufacturing and financial services/banking/insurance while business sectors such as retail, wholesale, import/export, trading and distribution tended to freeze hiring.

“A drop in Mainland visitor numbers, Hong Kong’s strong currency, volatility of investment markets, slowdown of China’s economic growth and a weak global demand will continue to be among key economic sectors that affect the manpower resources for businesses in tourism, retail, hospitality, accommodation services and export trade. Despite the fact that some industries are facing greater business challenges, Hong Kong’s economic foundation is solid,” concludes Li. 

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