42% of Hongkongers consider quitting for better work-life balance

Photo by Mikhail Nilov

Randstad has released its 2023 Employer Brand Research report. In its 11th edition, the Employer Brand Research captures the voice of the local workforce in Hong Kong SAR, showcasing how talent expectations change with the economy and labour markets.

2 in 5 respondents said that they have resigned or considered leaving their employer to improve their work-life balance. This is followed by 28% of respondents who said that they would quit for a higher salary to cope with the rising cost of living.

Benjamin Elms, Managing Director at Randstad Hong Kong said, “After three unprecedented years, the changes to today’s economy and labour markets have added new dimensions to worker priorities and expectations. While employment and salaries are extremely valuable to talent, people are actively seeking companies that provide a positive experience and make them feel good.”

Top 5 reasons that would motivate a worker to resign

These are improved work-life balance (42%), low compensation amidst rising cost of living (28%,)  lack of career growth opportunities (28%), other attractive offers (24%), and a lack of interest in the current job (23%)

31% of respondents have intentions to switch jobs in 2023

Close to one in three respondents (31%) stated their intention to change jobs this year. Millennials aged 25 to 34 years old emerged as the most likely generation to make such a move among all respondents. Generation Z workers aged 18 to 24 years old, on the other hand, showed the least desire to change jobs.

The survey also revealed that 22% of Hongkongers changed jobs between July and December 2022, indicating that job switching activities are starting to stabilise and returning to pre-COVID levels (2019: 25%).

According to Hongkongers, support for better work-life balance have improved

Despite high expectations for work-life balance, data from the Employer Brand Research show that companies are making improvements. The year-on-year gap between talent expectations and what employers can offer in terms of work-life balance has shrunk from 8 to 5 points.

Elms said, “Striking the right balance between work and life is critical for long-term success for companies aiming to attract top talent. Excessive stress and workloads can have a negative impact on employees’ overall well-being, resulting in lower productivity and poorer employee satisfaction. Ineffective management, poor communication, and social isolation can exacerbate these issues, making talent acquisition even more challenging for organisations.”

“It is encouraging to witness companies in Hong Kong take positive steps towards fostering a healthier and more productive workforce. These efforts also inspire us to continue working closely with our clients to further enhance their attractiveness as employers and maximise their talent acquisition potential.”

Discussions on work-life balance have predominantly focused on hybrid and flexible work arrangements from the start.

According to the survey, hybrid work trends are stabilising in Hong Kong SAR, with 36% of respondents saying that they can work remotely either fully or partially. However, ‘flexible work arrangements’ is considered an important non-monetary benefit by 85% of the research respondents.

“We anticipate that in the post-COVID era, employers will expect employees to return to the workplace to foster employee culture and drive commercial sales through in-person interactions. However, completely eliminating flexible work arrangements will have a negative impact on the company’s employer brand, as employees may perceive the organisation as rigid and unconcerned about employee well-being. Companies should calibrate flexible work arrangements proactively and update their HR policies to align with the evolving work environment to meet top talent attraction expectations,” Elms commented on the correlation between flexible work and work-life balance.

More than just money: 69% of respondents said non-monetary benefits are important

In the survey, 69% of respondents said non-monetary benefits are important when seeking a new employer.

Non-monetary benefits are defined as initiatives that do not involve direct financial compensation. Instead, they provide intangible benefits that enhance employees’ job satisfaction and work-life balance.

Among the non-monetary benefits, respondents highlighted that having good relationships in the workplace stands out as the most important factor. Good relationships with colleagues (87%) and managers (87%) top the list, with convenient location (85%), flexible work arrangements (85%) and more automony (84%) next.

Elmssaid, “In the new social contract between employers and employees, employers must go beyond  wages and provide more comprehensive and holistic support to their employees. A high salary may attract interest, but true talent attraction lies in creating an enjoyable work environment where meaningful relationships thrive. By cultivating a supportive work environment, companies can attract talent who are searching for a sense of belonging in a home away from home.”

Hongkongers want more upskilling and re-skilling opportunities to future-proof their employment

Hongkongers highly value career growth and development, however, employers are falling short in providing the necessary training and support to meet these expectations.

Data from the survey reveals that 77% of respondents consider upskilling and re-skilling important, yet only 48% have received opportunities to advance their careers. Particularly, upskilling holds significant importance for Gen Zers, with 75% of them seeking development opportunities to develop their careers.

According to the survey, 28% of respondents said that they would feel motivated to quit their jobs if they lack career growth opportunities.

“To retain top talent and motivate existing employees, companies must prioritise the development of equitable career opportunities and offer upskilling and re-skilling programmes. Companies that invest in the continuous skills development of their workforce benefit not only their employees but also their organisational value. Future-proofing skills demonstrate a commitment to employee growth and attract talent who share the same values looking for opportunities to advance.”

In January, the 2023 Randstad Employer Brand Research reached out to over 163,000 respondents across 32 markets, including 2,750 individuals based in Hong Kong SAR. This independent research is the world’s most comprehensive employer brand study that provides employers with a unique opportunity to discover new talent insights and measure their brand perception to improve their workforce strategies.