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Hong Kong workforce desires hybrid working style and diverse employment environment

According to PwC’s Workforce Hopes & Fears Survey 2022

  • 89% of Hong Kong employees prefer to work entirely or mostly remotely

  • But only 45% have an option for remote working

  • 62% perceive their roles require more professional training

  • 62% are optimistic about future career development and opportunities

  • 85% of Hong Kong employees would recommend the company to others

  • 57% of Hong Kong employers increase wages to attract talents



PwC’s Hopes & Fears 2022 report - one of the largest global surveys of workers - reveals the feelings and perceptions of employees about job security amid the severe challenges brought by the COVID-19 pandemic and gauges the ongoing impact on their future of work and life. The study covers people's concerns and aspirations when choosing a job and employer, their considerations and needs regarding professional skills and digitalisation, as well as workplace trends for the next 12 months both in Hong Kong and around the world.


Growing demand for employers to provide remote and hybrid work opportunities


There is now a growing trend of personnel seeking remote working options, but many employers are not matching expectations. Since the global outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2019, a large number of employees have adapted to working from home. Now, 89% of employees in Hong Kong prefer to work entirely or mostly remotely, akin to the global proportion of 88%. Nevertheless, only 45% of Hong Kong employees are offered hybrid working options, compared to 54% globally, reflecting that employees in Hong Kong have may face more limitations in working options relative to the global norm.


Companies face skills shortage challenges and use internal means to alleviate the problem


The survey also found that Hong Kong shows slightly less demand for professional skills training and less of a skills shortage compared to global responses, with 62% of Hong Kong employees perceiving their job requires more professional training, compared to 69% globally. Concurrently, Hong Kong employers are doing more to address the issue of shortages in professional skills compared to global. In Hong Kong, increasing wages was ranked as the most popular way to resolve skills shortages with 57% of Hong Kong employers followed by upskilling workers with 48%. Whereas globally, upskilling workers was the top solution with 40% of global employers, after which came increasing wages with 33%.


Michael Cheng, People & Organisation Advisory Digital Lead Partner of PwC Hong Kong, said: “The willingness to work remotely or in hybrid format is on an upward trajectory in Hong Kong, employers are advised to uphold workplace flexibility and experiment with different modes of working. Employers can continue to seek new ways of improving hybrid working experiences by providing employees with more digitalised tools and trainings, and take a more holistic approach to addressing retention risk such as pay and career development for those who cannot work remotely or in a hybrid format.”


Employees recognise the importance of advanced technology


Many employees see the importance of equipping themselves with advanced technological skillsets to keep pace with the constant development of new technology. In terms of the impact of technology on future work, Hong Kong employees assert willingness to learn and upskill their digital savviness in the future but don’t see ample opportunities to do so at work. Half of Hong Kong employees say that they have limited capacity to learn new technical or digital skills that are needed for their careers, compared to 36% globally. Additionally, 45% of Hong Kong employees further comment that there is no opportunity to work and learn from colleagues with high-tech/ digital skills and their companies do not provide relevant training opportunities.


“Because the impacts of technological force are felt strongly by employees, business leaders should utilise digital technologies to develop more integrated, flexible, and lower-cost tools, resources, and learning channels,” said Michael Cheng.


Companies should continuously invest in employee well-being and promote personal growth


Currently, Hong Kong and global companies are focusing on brand image and protecting customer data. However, they should also continue to invest in employee well-being and promote personal growth opportunities in the workplace. The survey shows that 35% of Hong Kong companies manage employees’ well-being and diversity, just above the global average of 34%. As more companies are focusing on well-being, mental health, and internal development, 62% of Hong Kong employees and 52% of global employees are optimistic about future career development and opportunities.


Employees want more transparency on health and safety, economic and environmental impacts


Workplace transparency is another important issue for employees both in Hong Kong and around the world, notably related to fostering trust and accountability in support of social, economic, and mental well-being. Over 85% of all Hong Kong and global employees think that companies should be transparent in protecting their health and safety, while 91% are confident in the transparency of their employers.


Employees are more likely to ask for promotions and salary increases


One trend forecast for the next 12 months is that Hong Kong employees are more likely to ask for promotions and raises, followed by building pride in their work. Hong Kong stands at 90%, compared with 73% globally, when it comes to asking for a raise. However, Hong Kong Gen Z and Millennial employees are less likely to ask for a raise than their global equivalents, with 38% of Hong Kong Gen Z saying they would ask for a raise, compared to 41% of global Gen Z respondents. Still, the younger generations are significantly more likely than Gen X and Boomers to seek a raise. Additionally, 85% of Hong Kong employees surveyed said they are likely to recommend their employer as a place to work.


Albert Lo, Advisory Consulting Financial Services Leader of PwC Hong Kong, said: “Overall, employees are more likely to work for companies which emphasise well-being and diversity as priorities. As such, it will be imperative for organisations to develop a people-centric and ‘walk the talk’ culture on a daily basis. Employers are encouraged to be transparent about employees’ career opportunities within the organisation and create plans for personal development. They are also advised to promote broader transparency across valued topics including societal and environmental goals that are on course to become ever more important.”


 
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