Jobs should remain secure in 2017, but companies prepare for tougher times ahead — New survey by Willis Towers Watson

September 23, 2016

HONG KONG, September 22, 2016 — Companies are hoping for the best, but preparing for the worst in the coming year. Findings from Willis Towers Watson’s Hong Kong and Macau Severance Practices Survey indicate that the majority of surveyed companies in Hong Kong and Macau remain optimistic towards their performance over the next 12-18 months, while few companies have plans for redundancies or headcount reductions.

The new survey showed that 83% of Hong Kong businesses expect their performance in 2016 and 2017 to be ahead of or in line with their 2015 results, despite the poor global economic outlook and slowdown in mainland China. Only 10% of surveyed companies plan to reduce employee headcount in the next 12-24 months, but over a quarter of Hong Kong companies (26%) have a hiring freeze in place.

“It seems that most existing roles in the job market will be safe in 2017. However, many companies are preparing for tougher times ahead and are reviewing their redundancy and severance plans to be prepared,” said Trey Davis, Director of Talent and Rewards at Willis Towers Watson in Hong Kong.

“The labour market will remain tight in 2017, with the unemployment rate likely to remain low,” remarked Frances Wang, Rewards practice leader at Willis Towers Watson in Hong Kong. “Highly skilled workers are anticipated to continue having multiple job opportunities for the foreseeable future.”

Hong Kong businesses feel pressure from uncertainty
But perhaps given economic uncertainty, close to a quarter of surveyed Hong Kong companies (23%) plan to implement HR-related cost saving measures other than employee redundancies or layoffs. The four most common cost saving alternatives revealed in the study are:

  • Hiring freeze for some or all positions
  • A reduction or freeze in bonus or incentive funding
  • Limits on overtime work and travel expenses
  • Encouraging job-sharing and retraining of existing employees

“Although the majority of the Hong Kong business community is not reducing headcount, many are feeling economic pressures, and these are immediately reflected in current employment policies,” added Trey Davis.

Inadequate preparations can lead to high risk
Many employers overlook the importance of a proper and up-to-date severance policy. The survey found that less than half (47%) of surveyed companies have a formal severance or redundancy policy in place. But 21% of companies without such plans are anticipating implementing new policies.

“The way an employer designs and sets up their severance policies reflects the values of that company and their commitment to their employees. This can be taken into consideration by employees when accepting a new job offer, and is one of the elements that attracts and retains talent,” said Trey Davis.

The survey also shows that among those companies that already have a formal severance policy in place, more than 80% of them review these policies only when needed, while more than 90% of companies have not made and do not plan to make severance policy changes in view of the current economic environment.

“Redundancies can happen not only during economic downturns, but also as a result of M&A or company restructuring. Without a proper severance policy in place, the employer is taking the risk that they have to devote significantly more time and money to negotiate individual severance packages and agreements, and make payment calculations for every single leaver.”

“The lack of a clear formal policy could also give rise to inconsistencies in severance packages offered in redundancy, which could result in the perception of mistreatment due to gender, age or ethnicity.”

“These concerns present a strong case for companies to have a proper, formal severance policy in place, in addition to good corporate governance practices.”

About HONG KONG and MACAU Severance Practices Survey

Willis Towers Watson’s Hong Kong and Macau Severance Practices Survey is a survey launched for the first time in third quarter of 2016 in Hong Kong and Macau, providing insights on employee severance and related policies. Data was drawn from 182 companies in Hong Kong and 36 companies in Macau between June and July 2016. The total number of Hong Kong-based Full Time Equivalent Employees employed by the participating companies in this survey is 214,845.

About Willis Towers Watson

Willis Towers Watson (NASDAQ: WLTW) is a leading global advisory, broking and solutions company that helps clients around the world turn risk into a path for growth. With roots dating to 1828, Willis Towers Watson has 39,000 employees in more than 120 countries. We design and deliver solutions that manage risk, optimize benefits, cultivate talent, and expand the power of capital to protect and strengthen institutions and individuals. Our unique perspective allows us to see the critical intersections between talent, assets and ideas — the dynamic formula that drives business performance. Together, we unlock potential. Learn more at willistowerswatson.com.
 


韋萊韜悅Willis Towers Watson最新調查:2017年僱員就業職位維持穩定,但企業預計來年經營困難

[2016年9月22日・ 香港]本港企業都以「存最好的希望,作最壞的打算」的態度面對即將來臨的2017年。韋萊韜悅Willis Towers Watson最新公布的《香港及澳門遣散安排問卷調查》結果顯示,大部份受訪的香港及澳門企業對於未來12-18個月的業務表現維持樂觀,但仍有少數公司正計劃進行裁員。

該最新調查結果顯示,雖然環球經濟疲弱,中國內地經濟放緩,但仍有高達83% 本港企業預計其2016年及2017年的業務表現將超越2015年或至少與2015年相同。只有10% 受訪企業計劃在未來12-18個月進行裁員,另有超過四份之一的香港企業(26%)正在實施凍結招聘人手的措施。

韋萊韜悅香港區人才及獎酬總監戴卓表示:「現時就業市場上的職位相信在2017年仍然安全。然而,很多公司都預見來年的經營環境困難,因此已經開始考慮進行裁員及遣散計劃。」

韋萊韜悅香港區獎酬諮詢部門負責人王芳認為:「2017年的勞工市場仍然緊張,失業率預計將維持在低水平。高質素人才相信會繼續得到多個轉工機會,在可見的將來仍然搶手。」

本港企業面對前景不明朗感壓力
面對不明朗的經濟前景,接近四份之一的香港企業(23%)計劃推行裁員以外的人力資源節流措施。調查結果顯示,當中最常用的四種節流措施為:

  • 凍結招聘部份或所有職位
  • 減少或凍結年終獎金或福利的預算金額
  • 限制超時工作和旅費開支
  • 鼓勵工作分擔及挽留現有僱員

戴卓補充:「雖然本港商界不傾向選擇裁員,但他們卻普遍感受到經濟壓力,並將有關壓力立刻反映在現行的僱傭政策中。」

準備不足可增風險
很多僱主都忽略了一個既合適又時並進的遣散政策的重要性。調查報告發現,只有少於半數(47%)的受訪公司已有一套正式的遣散或裁員政策,但有21% 無此政策的公司計劃落實有關的新政

戴卓認為:「僱主設計以至落實遣散政策的方式其實正好反映出公司價值,亦是公司對僱員的一種承諾。僱員在考慮是否接受新聘書的時候亦會將此納入考慮因素之列,可見這是吸引及挽留人才的其中一個重要元素。」

調查結果顯示,已經擁有正式遣散政策的公司當中,超過八成只會在有需要的時候才會重新檢討有關政策,另外,九成以上的公司明言在現時的經濟環境中,沒有亦不打算修改現有的遣散政策。

「裁員不一定發生在經濟轉差的時間,有時候也會出現在併購行動或公司架構重組之後。如果沒有一套已經落實而又合適的遣散政策,僱主將需要投放更多時間和金錢處理遣散安排,承擔更高風險。例如僱主必須與每一位離職者商議其遣散賠償組合,並不斷進行談判,直到雙方達至共識,同時亦要根據個別情況計算遣散金額。」

「若缺乏一套清晰的正式政策,很可能會導致裁員行動中出現一些前後矛盾的遣散賠償組合,給予外界錯誤訊息,以為是因為性別、年齡或種族才出現待遇上的差別。」

「綜合以上理由,僱主必須了解一套正式而又合適的遣散政策實在是非常重要,同時亦是良好企業管治中不可或缺的一環。」

關於《香港及澳門遣散安排問卷調查》

韋萊韜悅 Willis Towers Watson的《香港及澳門遣散安排問卷調查》在2016年第三季度在香港及澳門首次發表,全面剖視僱員遣散安排和有關政策的情況。該調查在2016年6月至7月期間,共訪問了182間香港公司和36間澳門公司。參與調查的香港公司之本地相等於全職僱員總人數共214,845人。

關於韋萊韜悅Willis Towers Watson

韋萊韜悅 Willis Towers Watson (NASDAQ: WLTW) 是領先的環球顧問諮詢、經紀服務及企業方案公司,致力協助全球客戶將風險轉化為增長機遇。自1828年成立至今,我們的網絡已經覆蓋超過120個國家,並擁有39,000名員工。我們設計及提供專業企業方案,透過管理風險、培育人才及擴充資本實力,確保機構及個人獲得妥善保障,並進一步鞏固發展。我們以獨到見解,洞悉人才、資產和意念之間關鍵的協同互動關係 — 那正是推動企業業務表現的靈活方程式。攜手並肩,釋放潛能。請瀏覽willistowerswatson.com

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