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Employers get sweet to hire and retain staff
Benson Chao
update on Saturday, October 30, 2010

With most indicators pointing to a sizzling job market in Hong Kong and across Asia, employers are using their stickiest sweeteners to hire and keep staff, even as some job-hunters fudge their resumes to bag the best offers. 

"When the recruiting market starts to heat up, retention becomes a key priority, especially for high performers," says James Carss, Hudson's executive general manager, Hong Kong.

In its recently released 2010 fourth-quarter report, based on a survey of 1,500 employers in Hong Kong, Beijing, Shanghai and Singapore, the recruitment company found that 65 per cent of 450 Hong Kong executives surveyed said they would increase hiring in the fourth quarter, compared with 35 per cent in the same quarter last year.

About 70 per cent of Hong Kong respondents said their staff turnover rates had increased, with about one-third experiencing a rate of more than 10 per cent.

In terms of hiring expectation, Hong Kong is on a par with the mainland. "For the last couple of years, Hong Kong has bounced back very quickly from the global financial crisis and recession. Companies are quickly rebuilding and hiring people," Carss says. The information technology, telecoms, banking and consumer sectors in Hong Kong are more optimistic than others in boosting their headcounts.

As they build their staffing for risk management, product control, compliance and IT, the banks are the most willing in "opening their cheque books" to get the right candidates, he says.

Carss says companies have been adopting retention measures including pay adjustment, thorough career planning and more training. 

In the report, more than 40 per cent of Hong Kong respondents said they encountered candidates fudging their income, academic background or work experience in resumes. This rate compared with 68 per cent for the mainland and 46 per cent for Singapore.

"Employers are cautious when hiring either from internal reference or externally," Carss says. "They have more and more stringent reference-checking mechanisms in place." Dishonesty can bring revocation of a job offer or termination when an employer finds somebody has lied.

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