Finance and accounting hiring boom could hamper retention efforts

07 March 2011

Nine in 10 Hong Kong employers concerned with losing top performers in the current market

Hong Kong, 7 March 2011 -  According to the latest Robert Half Workplace Survey, 94% of employers in Hong Kong are concerned with losing top performers to other job opportunities following the payout of bonuses in the first half of the year 2011. This percentage is well above the regional Asia Pacific average of 75%.  

The Robert Half Workplace Survey conducted in Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia, and New Zealand, also reveals a hiring boom across the Asia Pacific with 41% of employers across the region planning to add staff and 9% expecting to reduce staffing levels, resulting in a net 32% projected hiring increase.

In Hong Kong, a net 38% of employers said they plan to hire full-time finance and accounting professionals during the first half of this year and a net 35% also indicated that they will increase temporary or contract staff in the first half of 2011. According to the survey, the top four functional areas in which Hong Kong employers plan to hire include accounting (54%), finance (57%), operational support (30%) and banking (45%).

The survey showed that middle managers and entry-level staff are the most sought by Hong Kong employers, with 68% and 61% of respondents planning to bring these professionals on board, respectively.  This compares to 18% who said they plan to hire senior management staff.

Andrew Morris, Managing Director of Greater China, Robert Half, commented on the research findings, “As hiring activity in the finance industry heats up, employees have more employment options. To prevent top performers from jumping ship, companies may need to enhance their staff retention efforts, particularly if bonus payouts did not match staff expectations.”

Morris added that offering competitive pay, setting realistic bonus expectations and outlining career paths for key players can help foster loyalty and prevent turnover, which can be costly to a company. “There’s a high price to turnover, both in terms of losing skills and institutional knowledge, as well as the time, effort and resources required to replace employees,” he said.

According to the survey, it takes employers in Hong Kong an average of seven weeks to fill entry-level finance and accounting positions, and nine to 12 weeks to fill middle and senior management positions.

About The Robert Half Workplace Survey
The Robert Half Workplace Survey illustrates industry opinion on issues relating to the economy, hiring trends and workplace habits in accounting and finance roles across different business sectors. The survey was developed by Robert Half in conjunction with an independent research organisation. The survey was conducted February 2011, and included 1,651 HR, finance and accounting professionals in Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia and New Zealand.  A total of 410 professionals were interviewed in Hong Kong. 

About Robert Half
Robert Half is the first and largest specialised financial recruitment firm and a pioneer in global placement services for accounting, finance, banking and technology professionals. Founded in 1948, the company is traded on the New York Stock Exchange (symbol: RHI). The company’s specialised staffing divisions include Robert Half Finance & Accounting for temporary and permanent finance and accounting personnel; Robert Half Financial Services Group, for high-calibre finance and banking professionals; Robert Half Management Resources, for specialised interim financial professionals; and Robert Half Technology, for experienced technology professionals.

There are more than 350 Robert Half locations worldwide. In 2010, Robert Half again was ranked number one in our industry on FORTUNE® magazine’s list of the “World’s Most Admired Companies” (March 22, 2010).


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