Labour Market Remains Stable in Q3 2011

(Monday, December 12, 2011)

Labour Market Remains Stable in Q3 2011

Hiring intentions slacken in the last quarter of the year

 

 

[12 December 2011 – Hong Kong]  No major fluctuation was witnessed in the labour market in Q3 2011 when compared with Q2 2011, with both the staff turnover and job vacancy rates remained steady. As far as hiring intentions are concerned, the overall situation was still positive but a slow-down was recorded, especially for some sectors. The latest labour market situation was reflected by the findings in the Quarterly Survey on Manpower Statistics - Third Quarter 2011 conducted by the Hong Kong Institute of Human Resource Management (HKIHRM).

 

Conducted since 2002 to collect data on a quarterly basis, the HKIHRM Quarterly Survey on Manpower Statistics regularly tracks manpower movement in Hong Kong’s labour market. A total of 85 companies participated in the Q3 2011 (Jul to Sep) survey conducted in October 2011, covering 100,497 employees. Key data obtained from the survey include hiring intentions, staff turnover, job vacancy, position growth/cut and staff absence rate.

 

Mr Francis Mok, President of the HKIHRM, said, “The survey results showed that the labour market was stable in Q3. There was no significant change in staff turnover and job vacancy rates when compared with Q2 or the same period last year. Although concerns about the global economic development still existed, there was no sign of a rapidly deteriorating local economy in the last quarter. According to government statistics, the local unemployment and under-employment rates (Aug to Oct) remained very low at 3.3% and 1.6% respectively.”

 

Key findings of the survey are as follows:

 

Staff Turnover

The overall turnover rate for Q3 2011 was 4.3% (weighted average), same as the figure recorded in Q2 2011 and 0.7 percentage point higher than Q3 2010 (3.6%) [Chart 1].

 

The retail sector recorded the highest turnover (7.3%), followed by business services/professional services and telecommunication (both at 6%) [Chart 2]. In terms of employee level, the highest turnover rate was among the clerical/frontline level (5.8%, a continuous trend since Q2 2007) [Chart 3].

 

Job Vacancy

The overall job vacancy rate for Q3 2011 was 4.7% (weighted average), 0.5 percentage point lower than that in Q2 2011 (5.2%) and 0.8 percentage point higher than Q3 2010 (3.9%) [Chart 1].

 

The retail sector recorded the highest vacancy rate (8.9%), followed by engineering (6.1%) and construction/property development/real estate (5.5%) [Chart 2]. In terms of employee level, the highest vacancy rate was found in the clerical/frontline level (5.1%, a continuous trend since Q1 2011) [Chart 3].

 

Position Growth/Cut

The net growth in new positions during Q3 2011 was 1.4%, 0.6 percentage point higher than Q2 2011 (0.8%) and 0.1 percentage point higher than Q3 2010 (1.3%) [Chart 4].

 

The highest net growth in job positions was recorded in the business services/professional services sector (2.3%), followed by wholesale, import/export, trading, distribution (2.2%) and construction/property development/real estate (2%) [Chart 5]. In terms of employee level, the highest net growth was recorded in the clerical/frontline level (1.8%, first time since Q2 2010)) [Chart 6].

 

Absence Rate

Among the 85 participating companies, 56 companies provided data on staff absence. The absence rate in Q3 2011 was 2% (weighted average), 0.3 percentage point higher than Q2 2011 (1.7%) [Chart 7]. In the survey, “absence” is defined as unscheduled absences of one or more than one day including sick leave (paid or no paid), emergency leave and casual leave.

 

The business services/professional services sector recorded the highest absence rate (6.5%), followed by community/social/personal services (2.5%) and engineering (2.4%) [Chart 8]. In terms of employee level, the clerical/frontline level recorded the highest absence rate (2.2%, a continuous trend since Q3 2009) [Chart 9]. 

 

Hiring Intentions in Q4 2011

83 companies provided data on their hiring intentions in Q4 2011. 57.8% companies intended to remain hiring as of Q3 2011 (6.7 percentage points lower than that for Q3 2011) and 25.3% companies intended to increase hiring (3.5 percentage points higher than that for Q3 2011). 13.3% intended to freeze hiring (0.6 percentage point higher than that for Q3 2011) and 3.6% intended to reduce hiring (2.5 percentage points higher than that for Q3 2011).

 

The construction/property development/real estate sector recorded the highest intention to increase hiring (50%) among all sectors surveyed, followed by business services/professional services (40%) and financial services/banking/insurance (33.3%) [Chart 10].

 

Conclusion

“In general, we place emphasis on hiring intentions as it indicates whether the surveyed companies are positive about the economic outlook or the prospect of their own sectors. In our latest survey, it was found that the overall hiring intentions had slackened. More companies intended to reduce hiring and more sectors indicated the intention to freeze hiring. Factors such as the Eurozone debt crisis, the weak US economy, credit control in the mainland, and inflation are still affecting economic development trend. In view of this, employers at large may choose to be prudent and adopt a wait-and-see approach in manpower planning,” concluded by Mr Mok.

 

 

-  END -

 

 

 

[Please click here to download data charts]

 

 

 

About HKIHRM

As the most representative professional human resource institute in Hong Kong, the Hong Kong Institute of Human Resource Management (HKIHRM), a non-profit making organisation, has over 4,900 individual and corporate members. Founded in February 1977, the Institute aims at developing, maintaining and enhancing professional standards in HR management, and increasing the perceived value and influence of the HR profession. The Institute organises a wide range of professional activities such as multi-level training programmes and conferences, and provides services such as conducting surveys and publishing a professional journal. The HKIHRM is a member of the Asia Pacific Federation of Human Resource Management which is one of the continental federations under the World Federation of People Management Associations. For more information, please visit our website at http://www.hkihrm.org.

 

 

 

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