Hong Kong employers focusing on older workers

Photo by Joshua Hurricks

Aon plc has released insights from its 2022 Older Age Workforce Study. The study, a first of its kind in Hong Kong, focuses on critical human resources practices and employee benefit and retirement plan data to help organisations create a compelling benefit package for older workers and differentiate themselves from the competition to tackle the increasing talent shortage.

The study revealed that 44 percent of Hong Kong employers see an increased business need to retain older employees in the workforce and expect this to be a key focus over the next five years.

Among employers that have increased or are considering to increase the retirement age, the majority (56 percent) cited the need to retain employees’ experience in their Hong Kong workforce and are monitoring public sector retirement age trends.

Ashley Palmer, regional managing partner and head of Wealth Solutions, Asia Pacific at Aon, said, “Aon’s study finds Hong Kong is in the midst of a talent crunch, with the reported size of the labour force having dropped to the lowest level in a decade given net emigration and continuing restrictions in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Organisations need to be more proactive in retaining and engaging the talent they already have. Investing in specifically designed employee benefits with flexible retirement options and financial wellbeing support demonstrate that organisations value more experienced talent.

“Employers with an effective older workforce strategy are able to drive agile succession planning, retain key skills, and provide a soft-exit through flexible retirement options. These are all critical to further accelerating talent pipelines and organisational people objectives, such as to increase diversity and gender representation in leadership roles.”

The survey also found 34 percent of Hong Kong employers are providing employees with additional support around retirement options and financial wellbeing. In addition, 17 percent of employers demonstrate their appreciation to retiring employees by providing an ex gratia “golden handshake,” which can include a cash bonus, gold, gift coupons and celebratory meals.

Stella Ho, head of Wealth Solutions, Hong Kong at Aon, said, “The long-term success of an organisation is underpinned by its investment in driving a more flexible, engaged and resilient workforce. The results of the study highlight that employers need to increase focus on communication and ensure sufficient working/retirement flexibilities within competitive employee benefit and retirement practices to optimise their older talent.

“Business leaders typically underestimate employees’ need for wellbeing support, especially for retirement and financial wellbeing. Financial stress is not based on income or age, but is closely linked to mental health, and in times of increasing costs of living, supporting employees to make better financial decisions has never been more important to drive workforce resilience and productivity.”