The new Michael Page Employee Intentions Report reveals that most workers have faith in the strength of the Hong Kong economy. Completed in June, the online survey polled entry-level to senior-management professionals on salary expectations, confidence in the job market and general employment outlook.
Of the 700 respondents, 42 per cent rated the current job market as strong. Some 40 per cent also indicated they are likely to change jobs within the next six to 12 months, with over a third of those who wished to move citing career progression as their primary reason. Half of those surveyed also said they would ask their current employer for a pay rise.
In light of these results, employers will likely need to look at ways to hold on to staff over the next year, says Anthony Thompson, senior managing director for Hong Kong and Southern China at Michael Page.
“Employers need to focus on retention and will be expected to enter into salary negotiations to keep top talent – that is, individuals with the experience and knowledge to drive the business forward,” he says, adding that jobseekers are paying special attention to career development plans, something hirers should be wary of.
Employers should also be mindful of the fact that average salary rises look set to grow. Over a third of respondents are aiming for a rise of 6-9 per cent, far outpacing expectations from the same time last year.
However, Thompson adds that while remuneration is important, there are a number of other ways employers can encourage top talent to stay with them.
“We increasingly find that candidates are focused on their career path and not just what is in it for them now,” he says, pointing to the impact of career progression on willingness to stay put.
Part of what’s fuelling the higher expectations, he suggests, may be the current wealth of job opportunities. Much of this, Thompson says, is attributable to the strength of the mainland economy, which is prompting many firms based there to expand their operations in Hong Kong.
“There is no doubt that China’s economic strength and continued growth are a real positive for the employment market in Hong Kong. Asia overall is performing well compared with most other markets,” Thompson says.
The only exception may be the financial services sector, which continues to be hit by uncertainty, especially in Europe.
Originally published in South China Morning Post, September 2012