Hiring Intentions for Q2 2012 Remain Stable

(Monday, June 18, 2012)

Hiring Intentions for Q2 2012 Remain Stable
Staff turnover and job vacancy rate decrease slightly in Q1 2012 against Q1 2011
[18 June 2012 – Hong Kong] While public attention is still paid to the turbulent economies in the European Union countries and the US, where more negative news or results were reported, the labour market in Hong Kong managed to remain stable amid such negative global market sentiment. Many employers indicated that they would continue with hiring. The latest labour market situation was reflected by the findings in the Quarterly Survey on Manpower Statistics – First Quarter 2012 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 78 companies participated in the Q1 2012 (January to March) survey conducted in April and May 2012, covering 102,877 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, “It is observed that economic growth in Hong Kong has slowed down. Our gross domestic product increased by only 0.4% in Q1 2012 while the figure for the same period last year was 7.6%. Still, we find ourselves in a more favourable position. Our unemployment rate (February to April 2012) remained low at 3.3%. According to HKIHRM’sQuarterly Survey on Manpower Statistics, both staff turnover and job vacancy rates dropped in Q1 2012 when compared with the same period last year. However, the decrease was not significant, which indicated that our labour market is still healthy. In fact, some sectors are still facing severe labour shortage.”
Key findings of the survey are as follows:
Staff Turnover and Job Vacancy [Chart 1]
(weighted average)
Staff turnover
-          0.9 percentage point higher than Q4 2011 (2.4%)
-          0.2 percentage point lower than Q1 2011 (3.5%)
Job vacancy
-          1.1 percentage points higher than Q4 2011 (3.2%)
-          0.9 percentage point lower than Q1 2011 (5.2%)
 Staff Turnover
·            Top three sectors with the highest turnover rate: [Chart 2]
-          retail (8.5%, a continuous trend since Q3 2011)
-          other business activities (7.0%)
-          community/social/personal services(5.6%)
·            In terms of employee level, clerical/frontline staff recorded the highest turnover rate (4.1%, a continuous trend since Q2 2007). [Chart 3]
·            Top three sectors with the highest vacancy rate: [Chart 2]
-          retail (13.0%)
-          community/social/personal services (9.6%)
-          construction/property development/real estate (5.2%)
·            In terms of employee level, clerical/frontline staff recorded the highest vacancy rate at 4.7%. [Chart 3]
Position Growth/Cut
·            The net growth in new positions during Q1 2012 was 0.8% (weighted average), 0.2 percentage point higher than Q4 2011 (0.6%) and 0.4 percentage point lower than Q1 2011 (1.2%). [Chart 4]
·            Top three sectors with the highest net growth in job positions: [Chart 5]
-          construction/property development/real estate (2.6%)
-          retail (2.5%)
-          financial services/banking/insurance and diversified conglomerates (both at 0.6%)
·            In terms of employee level, both middle management/non-managerial professionals and supervisory/officers levels recorded the highest position growth rate at 1.0%. [Chart 6]
Absence Rate
Among the 78 participating companies, 50 companies provided data on staff absence. 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 absence rate in Q1 2012 was 1.9% (weighted average), same as Q4 2011. [Chart 7]
·            Top three sectors with the highest absence rate: [Chart 8]
-          manufacturing (2.6%)
-          community/social/personal services and other business activities (both at 2.3%)
·            In terms of employee level, the clerical/frontline staff recorded the highest absence rate at 2.1% (a continuous trend since Q3 2009). [Chart 9]
Hiring Intentions in Q2 2012
Among the 78 participating companies, 76 companies provided data on their hiring intentions in Q2 2012.
Hiring Intention
% of Companies
Trend (higher or lower than Q1 2012)
remain hiring as of Q1 2012
-         2.9 percentage points higher
increase hiring
-         3.7 percentage points higher
freeze hiring
-         5.5 percentage points lower
reduce hiring
-         1.2 percentage points lower
·            Sectors with the intention to increase hiring are: [Chart 10]
-     construction/property development/real estate (50.0%)
-     other business activities (50.0%)
-     diversified conglomerates (33.3%)
-    transport/services allied to transport (storage) (30.0%)
-     wholesale, import/export, trading, distribution (27.3%)
-     financial services/banking/insurance (27.3%)
-     community/social/personal services (16.7%)
“Although worries about the global economic uncertainties still prevail, and employers and HR professionals are on the alert of any sudden negative impact of such uncertainties, the labour market in Q1 2012 was still stable. We can see from the survey results that hiring intentions in Q2 2012 remained fairly strong. Sectors like construction, property development, real estate and transportation expressed comparatively stronger hiring intentions. While some employers are still adopting a wait-and-see approach, those who find an actual need in talent search will act accordingly in order not to impede their business operations ,” concluded Mr Mok.

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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 more than 4,800 members, with 560 of whom being 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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