Companies should not be criticised for cutting jobs in order to reduce costs, a human resources expert said yesterday. Sara Cheung Fung-yee, research director for the Hong Kong Institute of Human Resources Management, told a round-table there was nothing wrong with companies introducing measures such as lay-offs and outsourcing. AASome people may see it as short-term but organisations are different from the government,'' she said. AAThey need to survive in the short term to be able to survive the long term. So I don't think that is a bad thing.'' Ms Cheung also said it would be unfair to accuse firms that had laid off workers of being socially irresponsible. AAIf we still try to hang on to the past, such as lifelong careers, you will make all the companies and the whole economy inefficient. Who will be more irresponsible?'' she said. Ms Cheung also said the government should focus more on drawing up long-term strategies. She wants the education system to be more creative to encourage competition. Row Henson, an award-winning international human resources expert and former vice-president of PeopleSoft, a L business software provider, said companies should first look at ways to raise productivity. AAMy biggest concern is that people are nowadays only looking at cost containment instead of looking at value creation,'' she said. Ms Henson said many employers had failed to let workers know about their weaknesses until it was too late, resulting in the group feeling angry when they were sacked. Mick Bennett, Asia-Pacific region managing director of Hewitt Associates, said companies L should be frank with their employees from the start. Legislator and Federation of Trade Unions vice-chairman L Leung Fu-wah said the institute's view on cost-cutting should be seen as nothing more than an attempt to appease employers. AASuch a principle cannot apply across-the-board, especially to L those companies which can still generate a profit,'' he said.