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HR & EDUCATION | Staff Reporter, Hong Kong
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Almost 4 in 5 employers concerned they don't have the right talent

Skills shortage is hampering business operations.

74 per cent of employers in Hong Kong are concerned they don’t have the right talent to achieve current business objectives, according to recruiting experts Hays.

The 2017 Hays Asia Salary Guide, released in February 2017 also revealed that 44 per cent of employers in Hong Kong believe skills shortages have the potential to hamper effective business operations this year. A further 47 per cent expect shortages to have some impact on business operations.

The Hays Asia Salary Guide highlights salary and recruiting trends drawn from more than 3,000 employers across Japan, China, Hong Kong, Malaysia and Singapore representing six million employees as well as the salary ranges for more than 1,200 roles.

“When the efficiency of a business is threatened, planning your business strategy and your talent pipeline has never been critical”, says Christine Wright, Managing Director of Hays Asia. “The focus for many businesses should be to build a highly talented and productive workforce. To do so, companies need to ensure they have access to the right candidates if they are to benefit from emerging conditions”.

Across all countries, findings from the below table highlights the roles that employers are struggling to recruit for.

Looking back over the last 12 months, 50 per cent of employers in Hong Kong tried to combat skill shortages by upskilling their employees, while 39 per cent improved their attraction strategies. Only 11 per cent took no action.

In skill short areas, 61 per cent of employers in Hong Kong would consider sponsoring or employing a qualified candidate from overseas. Across all countries, 59 per cent of employers would consider employing or sponsoring a qualified candidate from overseas in areas where there are skills shortages. This is a six per cent drop compared to last year’s results, which could be indicative of tightening labour laws in the countries surveyed.

Singapore has the most ethnically diverse workforce in Asia with 21 per cent of foreign workers in the country. Hong Kong ranks second with 12 per cent, Malaysia third with 11 per cent with Japan 9 per cent and China 6 per cent.

“Interestingly the 2017 Guide shows candidates are mobile with 50 per cent of respondents in Hong Kong willing to move countries to secure the right job,” says Christine. “Our candidate survey also reveals 27 per cent of candidates in Hong Kong are already job hunting with 18 per cent planning to change jobs in the next six months and 17 per cent from between the next six to twelve months.”

64 per cent of candidates in Hong Kong have nominated salary or benefit package as their main motivator in wanting to switch jobs. However this year, 45 per cent of candidates have nominated ‘lack of career progression’ as a reason to switch jobs and is an increase of 19 per cent from last year.

Christine adds, “Employers will need to have access to current candidate attraction and retention research to guide their candidate and employee strategies, to ensure they have the best people possible to help navigate what is expected to be, a fast changing year in 2017.”

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