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 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