HR & EDUCATION | Staff Reporter, Hong Kong

Here's why Hong Kong employees are being demoted

Poor performance is not the only reason.

More than one third or 34% of Hong Kong’s bosses have demoted a previously promoted employee who failed to succeed in a new role, according to an independently commissioned study by specialist recruiter Robert Half.

The second reason for demotion, as cited by 31% of Hong Kong bosses, was an organisational restructuring or the position having been eliminated. More than one in four or 28% stated the employee was performing poorly, whilst 8% said the demotion was voluntary on behalf of the employee.

Whilst many employees hope it never happens to them, demotions in the workplace are apparently more common than some may think as a new survey of Hong Kong bosses, with respondents noting how more than half or 52% have demoted an employee at their company.

Also read: Only 2% of senior executives have a concrete plan to address skill shortages: survey

On the other end of the spectrum, employees reacted differently when being demoted, the survey found. More than one in three (38%) Hong Kong bosses said that the employee handled the news as gracefully as possible. A strong reaction to being demoted was cited by 27% who say the employee quit in response, followed by 25% who got upset and lost interest in their work.

Only 10% took a proactive approach and focused on excelling in their new position, Robert Half noted.

“Whilst it's never easy to accept reduction in rank, workers can demonstrate their professionalism and bounce back by keeping their emotions in check, understanding the root cause and performing at a high level to position themselves for future advancement,” Adam Johnson, managing director of Robert Half Hong Kong, said in a statement.

“Career-savvy professionals should always be open to receiving constructive feedback on how to improve in their role, so a demotion can also be seen as an opportunity to reflect on performance and identify areas for improvement, which can help to accelerate careers in the long-term,” he added. 

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