Despite rising production, operational and staff costs, and an increasingly competitive sports retail sector, Puma Hong Kong still believes the local market has great growth potential. But rapid expansion and rising wage expectations are making recruitment increasingly difficult for the company.
Simon Auyoung, general manager of Puma Hong Kong, says young job-seekers can be unrealistic in their job and pay expectations.
'Our clientele is very often young and energetic, so we need to recruit people who have similar traits to them,' he says. 'In other words, our candidates have to be young, energetic and sporty. Many people may think there is a big pool of potential candidates for us, but that is far from the truth.'
He says young job-seekers are highly demanding. In many cases, they expect to be paid 50 to 75 per cent more than market rates, without realising that they don't have the relevant experience.
With about 80 full-time employees, Puma Hong Kong operates eight retail shops in Hong Kong and has more than 300 points of sale. That means staffing is a constant challenge, along with rising rents and production costs.
'Like other companies, we have many incentives to motivate and retain staff including discretionary bonuses, among other benefits,' Auyoung says.
'We need good people at all levels - frontline sales, cashier and merchandising - who ought to be pretty versatile because we deal with quite a wide range of products from clothing to bags and other sports accessories,' he adds. 'We provide continuing staff training to update them on product and brand knowledge and sales techniques. We also organise regular factory visits to give them a full picture of our operation as well as for team-building purposes.'
Auyoung says the minimum qualification for retail staff is Form Five, and for marketing and merchandising, applicants should have tertiary education qualifications.
He says Hong Kong will remain a highly attractive market for the German multinational company because it is well developed and mature with high growth potential and huge spending power.