EMPLOYERS need to face up to the new social and economic realities of Hongkong and show less ambivalence towards their workforce, says human resources consultant Ilya Scott of William M. Mercer. Hongkong's growth is switching ever-increasingly away from manufacturing to the service sector where the employee is often the key element of the product. Ms Scott said: ''Their performance and attitude at customer level will directly determine the success of a business. ''In increasingly global and cut-throat markets, it is dangerously short-sighted of employers to miss out on the added value of a loyal and committed workforce.'' Traditionally, Hongkong employers and employees have not enjoyed a strong relationship. The chronic turnover of staff has become an accepted fact. ''Employers have done little to prevent this by fostering loyalty in their employees,'' said Ms Scott. The reluctance of Hongkong Chinese to direct confrontation and the plentiful job market are reasons why there have not been more industrial disputes, she said. ''For employees, it has simply been easier to move jobs than confront a situation and solve a problem,'' she said. But with the import of cheap labour and movement of plants to China, there might not always be the easy option of finding another job in some professions, she said. The advent of 1997 is also expected to have an effect on staff relations.