A lack of innovation and government support are the main obstacles encountered by small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Hong Kong, a study has revealed.
According to the UPS Asia Business Monitor 2010 survey, SMEs cite innovation (61 per cent), government support (61 per cent) and rising labour costs (55 per cent) as their top challenges.
Meanwhile, 36 per cent of respondents foresee business growth this year. K.K. Leung, managing director for UPS Hong Kong and Macau, says SMEs need to look overseas and identify markets where they can be competitive.
The survey, in its sixth year, covers 1,351 SMEs in 13 markets, including 100 in Hong Kong.
Older workers coveted
The assumption that employers do not like hiring older people is wrong and many in Australia would prefer someone older than 55 to a younger worker from overseas,
According to a government-funded study of 600 big organisations by Monash University, during labour shortages, 50 per cent of public sector employers put the recruitment of mature workers at the top of their agendas.
The study also found that about 40 per cent of private sector bosses said they too would look to the over-55s.
By contrast, less than a quarter of the employers surveyed - public and private sector - said they would recruit migrant labour to fill gaps.
The research deviates sharply from studies that have found a strong current of institutionalised ageism in workplaces is responsible for the disproportionately high level of mature-age unemployment.
HK firms ready to hire
More than 40 per cent of companies in Hong Kong and the southern mainland will step up recruitment this month, according to the latest employment index by Michael Page.
Of the firms that are hiring, 46 per cent are recruiting for frontline positions in areas such as sales and customer service. Some 19 per cent are filling operational roles, such as purchasing and engineering, while 18 per cent are increasing their back-office capabilities in accounting and human resources.
Nearly 40 per cent of firms plan to hire junior level staff, followed by mid-level (28 per cent) and senior employees (16 per cent). Almost half expect business operations to remain stable for the rest of the year. A further 44 per cent expect an improvement, with 7 per cent predicting weakening operations.