IMPORTANT people management issues that require attention now or in the future always attract close scrutiny from professionals who make up the Hong Kong Institute of Human Resource Management (HKIHRM). The institute's advice and guidance is sought by individual human resource practitioners, private sector organisations and the Government, whether it be on payroll and compensation matters or Equal Employment Opportunities legislation and even the Occupational Retirement Scheme. Professionals whose skills range from accounting to re-engineering and fund management to labour laws, contribute their ideas and make recommendations to policymakers in Hong Kong. The institute was consulted on legislation related to The Personal Data (Privacy) Ordinance which was passed recently by the Legislative Council and also Equal Employment Opportunities laws. HKIHRM representatives sit on various panels including the Committee on Management and Supervisory Training of the Vocational Training Council, Labour Advisory Board on Employment Services of the Labour Department, Advisory Committee for Graduate Employment of the City University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong Baptist University and Hong Kong Examinations Authority. The institute is regarded as an authoritative source for data on specific issues. For example, the institute's annual study on wage trends and wage levels of a sampling of jobs in the private sector acts as a reliable barometer for employers in determining pay increase rates. It also reflects trends in pay increases, Hong Kong's competitiveness, employee expectations and turnover rate, consumer price indices and even emigration. This year's January-April pay survey studied 109 companies. The wages study also helps human resource managers and companies make estimates and forecasts. This subject was further discussed at a seminar organised by the institute last week. Recently, the institute launched a research project on human resource management in foreign-invested enterprises in China, and also a pay and benefits study in China businesses. In addition, the institute helps to broaden the understanding of major issues through specialist publications such as the recently-released authoritative reference: Operating Retirement Schemes in Hong Kong - An Employer's Guide to the Occupational Retirement Schemes Ordinance. At another level, the institute helps to improve professional standards in human resource management through training programmes on a variety of practices. Training courses ranging from foundation skills in the human resource management certificate programme to business process re-engineering (BPR) are offered to people at every level within the profession. The institute disseminates information and discusses issues that are of interest to human resource practitioners through publications, special interest groups such as the Asia Pacific Group and People's Republic of China Club. Its 3,000 members include fellows of the institute, students (associate members), corporate members and overseas members. Associate members comprise the largest group - about 1,600 - while there are more than 700 ordinary members. There are about 40 fellows of the institute. In addition, there are more than 200 corporate members.