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Salary vs. work-life balance, what’s motivating Hong Kong employees?

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Winning the talent war is top of mind of all HR professionals, especially in Hong Kong where demand outstrips supply when it comes to future-ready skills. The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for the first quarter of  2018 dropped to 2.8% a 20-year record low for the territory.

Recruitment firm Randstad released Tuesday its annual employer brand research report that spoke to 4,295 Hongkongers between the ages of 18 and 65. It provides insights into employees’ and job seekers’ career motivations to inform employers of their talent attraction and retention strategies.

According to the research, Six in 10 Hongkongers ranked ‘attractive salary and benefits’ as the most important employee value proposition driver from their ideal employer. This is closely followed by ‘work-life balance’. The gap between these two drivers has narrowed to just one percentage point this year. Furthermore, employees’ expectations on “salary and benefits‟ increased 6% compared to last year to 60% in 2018.

“Our research has confirmed the rising importance of enabling better work-life balance for employees and promoting these initiatives and policies to attract talent. With Hongkongers placing near equal value on „work-life balance‟ as they do on „attractive salary and benefits‟, it is critical that companies offer progressive work-life balance policies that strongly resonate with employees,” said Natellie Sun, managing director at Randstad Hong Kong. “Employers that understand how they can support their employees to achieve a better quality of life in a holistic manner will become more attractive companies to work for, with leading companies already offering flexi-work arrangements, family-friendly leave policies, childcare services and gym memberships, just to name a few examples.”

The top five reasons why employers are planning to leave this year are:

  1. Limited career path (41%)
  2. Work-life balance issues (35%)
  3. Insufficient compensation (34%)
  4. Insufficient challenges (33%)
  5. Lack of recognition or award (28%)

The research further suggests that Hongkongers understand that they need to stay competitive as companies continue to undergo digital transformation and business restructuring. Being open and flexible to change is one of the proactive steps that Hongkongers take in order to stay employable (41%), which may include embracing new technology and adapting to changes in their job scopes. This is followed by upskilling (37%), “working flexible hours” (37%), being sociable with colleagues, managers and professional network (29%) and willingness to switch career (27%).

The most popular and attractive sectors to work for in Hong Kong are energy, transportation and banking and financial services.

ALSO READ: Top 10 brands that Hongkongers are proudest to work for

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