Non-Monetary Incentives Crucial in Retaining Young Talents

Hong Kong employers ought to offer non-monetary incentives to retain the best young talents as they value the young workforce for being “fast learners”, “adaptable”, “enthusiastic/energetic” and “better grasp of technology”, according to the Grant Thornton International Business Report. The report also reveals that 58% of Hong Kong businesses have more than a quarter of the workforce which is less than 30 years old, showing that young workers continue to be the key driver in the Hong Kong labour market.

The report finds that companies have a strong appetite for hiring in Q3 with 25% of businesses expecting to hire in the next 12 months, up 2% from 2013, while companies are offering multiple incentives to retain young talents. Salary increment (90%) and promotion (90%) remain the most common strategies among employers to incentivise outstanding young employees. In addition, companies are exploring other non-monetary incentives such as recognition from senior management (88%), training opportunity (80%), mentorship opportunity (70%) and in-kind incentives (64%).

While companies’ appetite for hiring is growing, unemployment rate in the age group 20-29 is the highest with 6.5%. IBR unveils that the most common reasons to put off employers hiring young people include poor attitude (76%), low motivation (72%), poor interpersonal skills (70%), poor discipline (68%), poor communication skills (66%) and lack of skills required for role (54%).

Despite several qualities of young workers valued by employers, high unemployment rate in the age group 20-29 indicates a mismatch between the young workforce available in the job market and the young workforce companies are looking for. Meanwhile, the anticipated declining workforce from 3.55 million in 2018 to 3.37 million in 2035, according to the Report on Manpower Projection to 2018 by the Hong Kong government, is expected to intensify the war for young talents.

“In response to the city’s shrinking workforce, a recent consultation on population policy suggests reactivating the network of housewives and retirees. However, our focus should be on young workers, who will become our future leaders,” Kelvin added, “It may take a long time for changes in the education system to take effect, thus it is more important for companies to train their young employees. If the person has the right mindset and attitude, he or she would be a great asset to the company, as all skills can be trained. ”

“Talent is the key to success in today’s business world, but most organisations use salary increment and promotion to attract and retain best talents. They should expand their horizon beyond money and look into non-monetary incentives to win the war for young talents. Recognition from senior management, training opportunity and mentorship opportunity not only strengthen young workers’ organisational loyalty but also empower them to take a bigger role and thus bring more added values to your business in the long run.”

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