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Michel Chan
Marketing Manager, Hudson Asia
Telephone: +852 2919 6181
Email: michel.chan@hudson.com

Katrina Chui
Assistant Marketing Manager, Hudson Asia
Telephone: +852 2919 6184
Email: katrina.chui@hudson.com

Media Release

Hong Kong employees taking a lukewarm view of their organisation's capacity to innovate

Hong Kong – 12 July 2016 – While almost nine in 10 Hong Kong organisations (88%) believe they drive and reward innovation, only 17% of employees agree, according to the latest Hudson Report: Today’s workforce demands tomorrow’s skills, released today.

In fact, findings from the survey show that nearly a quarter (24%) of employees say their organisations do not encourage innovation at all.

The new report analyses the talent landscape and provides insights on what employers might expect in 2016 and beyond, based on the views of over 600 employers and employees. The report points to a significant gap between the views of employees and managers on how businesses are managing innovation.

“There is a mis-match between the views of corporate leaders and their teams. While employers think they encourage new ideas, these are not being filtered down to the workplace,” said Mr Siddharth Suhas, Regional Director, Hudson Hong Kong and Guangzhou. “This is both a challenge and an opportunity for Hong Kong’s organisations. In a competitive marketplace, organisations that can foster innovative, adaptable teams will be better placed to deliver growth in the future, and will also be considered more engaging places to work.”

The report also found that a vast majority (84%) of Hong Kong professionals surveyed are currently either actively or passively looking for jobs. Hudson suggests that this may be linked to the innovation gap.

Permanent hiring expectations: Hong Kong (%)

“Those who take a dim view of their organisation’s capacity to innovate and adapt may look elsewhere for an employer that will provide a more stimulating environment,” Mr Suhas said.

FinTech roles on the rise as Hong Kong becomes a tech hub

The survey also tracks hiring intentions in Hong Kong, and found that one in four hiring managers (27%) in Hong Kong is looking to increase their permanent headcount over the next six months, a slight decrease on the latter half of 2015 (32.8%).

However, the overall hiring sentiment – the net effect – standing at 15.7%, has shifted down by 25.1 percentage points (pp) from 40.8% in the first half of 2016, which was largely driven by weaker hiring intentions in the Consumer and Banking sectors. The net effect is calculated by taking the percentage of employers surveyed who intend to increase permanent staff levels over the next six months, and subtracting the percentage of employers who expect to decrease staff levels.

Permanent hiring expectations: By sector (%)

“The Hong Kong market can best be characterised as stable,” said Mr Suhas. “The majority of employers we surveyed are planning to maintain or replace current headcount. Only a small portion, at 11.3%, are intending to decrease hiring.”

The HKSAR Government’s move to set up a HK$2 billion Innovation & Technology Venture Fund to support local FinTech start-ups1, has led to a rising focus on FinTech roles in Information Technology and Professional Services sectors. Employers in the IT sector dominate the latest figures, with 47.2% looking to increase headcount, followed by Professional Services (36.7%), Banking & Financial Services (25.5%), Consumer (12.2%) and Retail (8%).

As a result of a decline in both local consumers and luxury shoppers from mainland China, expansions and hiring intention in Consumer sector have slowed down. The number of consumer roles has reduced, and companies are shifting their headquarters to Singapore and Shanghai.

“In the Banking sector, corporate and investment banks are now focusing on replacing headcount and only hiring key roles, particularly in risk and compliance,” said Mr Suhas. “However, institutions headquartered in mainland China and smaller-sized fund houses are taking advantage of lower demand for talent to aggressively hire.”

Employers advised to focus more on skills development

The Hudson Report also found that hiring managers and employees don’t see eye to eye on the new skills that future workplaces will demand.

While 88% of employees are confident they have the skills to perform well in the future, only 57% of hiring managers agree to this. Four out of 10 employers doubt their team has the right skills mix for the future.

The top three skill sets employees want to develop are innovative thinking, negotiation and influencing skills, and digital literacy; whereas employers select driving and managing change, critical thinking, and drive for results as top soft skills required for the year ahead.

Soft skills disconnect

“There is a gap between the soft skills employers feel their company needs and those their people would most like to develop. Fortunately, there is common ground too: the ability to manage change is linked to innovative thinking, and these are areas where employers could achieve a win-win if they approach skills development thoughtfully,” Mr Suhas said.

The report reveals that although organisations are aware their team may have skills gaps, fewer than half have a defined strategy to develop their people.

In contrast, almost all (97%) employees feel the importance of developing new skills, and over half (56%) feel more pressured to learn new skills compared to two years ago; yet, only 38% of them feel supported by their managers to improve existing skills.

“Employees are keen to focus on more skills development among employees, but it appears their employers aren’t meeting them in the middle.

“This doesn’t have to be the case. A well-designed learning and development approach is an effective way to boost staff engagement, performance and retention, so the pay-off is much greater than the investment required,” Mr Suhas said.

– ENDS –

1 HKSAR Government, 2016-17 Budget Speech, http://www.budget.gov.hk/2016/eng/budget12.html

Editor Note
Please contact us for more information, print-ready graphs or to arrange an interview.

The Hudson Report frequently refers to the term ‘net sentiment’. The net effect figure is calculated by taking the percentage of employers surveyed that expect to increase permanent staff levels, or their contracting/temporary workforce, during the forthcoming six months and subtracting the percentage of employers surveyed that expect to decrease staff levels.

Background on Hudson Report: Forward Focus 2016
For the last decade, the Hudson Report has tracked ‘intentions to hire’ as a status check on the hiring landscape. But demand for talent is one thing, supply is another and the picture isn’t quite complete without a line of sight into the people being hired. As a result, the Hudson Report has now been expanded to include core data on job seekers and their career plans. The objective: to provide employers with key insights that help them attract and retain the best people in today’s talent market and beyond. The Hudson Report surveyed 604 employers and employees in Hong Kong.

About Hudson
Hudson is a global talent solutions company with expertise in leadership and specialised recruitment, recruitment process outsourcing, talent management and contracting solutions. We help our clients and candidates succeed by leveraging our expertise, deep industry and market knowledge, and proprietary assessment tools and techniques. Through relationships with millions of specialised professionals in 22 countries, we bring an unparalleled ability to match talent with opportunities by assessing, recruiting, developing and engaging the best and brightest people for our clients. We combine broad geographic presence, world-class talent solutions and a tailored, consultative approach to help businesses and professionals achieve higher performance and outstanding results. More information is available at Hudson.com.

Forward-Looking Statements
This press release contains statements that the company believes to be "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. All statements other than statements of historical fact included in this press release, including statements regarding the company's future financial condition, results of operations, business operations and business prospects, are forward-looking statements. Words such as “anticipate,” “estimate,” “expect,” “project,” “intend,” “plan,” “predict,” “believe” and similar words, expressions and variations of these words and expressions are intended to identify forward-looking statements. All forward-looking statements are subject to important factors, risks, uncertainties and assumptions, including industry and economic conditions' that could cause actual results to differ materially from those described in the forward-looking statements. Such factors, risks, uncertainties and assumptions include, but are not limited to, global economic fluctuations; risks related to fluctuations in the company's operating results from quarter to quarter; the ability of clients to terminate their relationship with the company at any time; competition in the company's markets; risks associated with the company's investment strategy; risks related to international operations, including foreign currency fluctuations; the company's ability to implement cost reduction initiatives effectively, including the recently announced restructuring program; the company's dependence on key management personnel; the company's ability to attract and retain highly skilled professionals; risks in collecting the company's accounts receivable; the negative cash flows and operating losses that the company has experienced from time to time in the past may reoccur in the future; restrictions on the company's operating flexibility due to the terms of its credit facilities; the company's heavy reliance on information systems and the impact of potentially losing or failing to develop technology; risks related to our dependence on uninterrupted service to clients; the company's exposure to employment-related claims from both clients and employers and limits on related insurance coverage; volatility of the company's stock price; the impact of government regulations; and restrictions imposed by blocking arrangements. Additional information concerning these and other factors is contained in the company's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. These forward-looking statements speak only as of the date of this document. The company assumes no obligation, and expressly disclaims any obligation, to update any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.

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