Hong Kong professionals less proactive when it comes to looking for a new job

Five out of six surveyed by LinkedIn would be happy to hear from an employer or headhunter about openings, but barely a quarter were actively seeking a new job

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 08 July, 2015, 11:16am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 08 July, 2015, 7:24pm

Hong Kong professionals are less likely than counterparts elsewhere to proactively seek new jobs, though they’d be more than happy to receive an approach from a potential employer, a global survey has found.

That’s the message to employers from LinkedIn’s second Talent Trends survey, which found that 74 per cent of Hong Kong-based professionals are “passive talent”, meaning they are not actively jobseeking, compared with a global average of 70 per cent.

The survey found 76 per cent of so-called passive candidates in the city were satisfied in their jobs. Despite this, 83 per cent of all those surveyed in Hong Kong said they would be interested in hearing from a recruiter or headhunter.

“Active talent” describes respondents who said they were actively looking for a new job or casually looking, for example on job websites, a few times a week.

The social network polled 20,000 professionals worldwide between February and March, including about 300 in Hong Kong.

Unsurprisingly, at 58 per cent, compensation was the most important factor for local candidates when making a job decision. The second big consideration was professional development, at 29 per cent, followed by a better working culture, at 28 per cent.

When it came to looking for a new employer, most local talent – 61 per cent – searched online job boards, the survey found. Some 56 per cent used social professional networks and 50 per cent relied on word of mouth.

Eric Yee, LinkedIn’s head of talent solutions for Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan, says companies should take note of the finding that half of professionals are talking to friends and colleagues to get a feel for what’s on the job market.

“What this means for companies is that they need to really think of their employees as brand ambassadors, as people that vouch for their company and are conduits who are going to talk positively about their companies, which these passive candidates may be interested in moving to,” he says.

The survey also explored candidates’ expectations of the job interview experience, and showed that jobseekers were no less discerning than employers.

Asked who they would like to meet at their interview, 59 per cent of local survey participants hoped to meet their prospective manager, and 19 per cent wanted to speak to a company executive.

As many as 94 per cent of local professionals said they would be inclined to accept a job offer more quickly if they were approached by their prospective manager. As one survey respondent pointed out: “Recruiting is like getting married with only meeting your future spouse a few times.”

Most candidates, at 69 per cent, said learning about their expected roles and responsibilities was their top priority  during the interview, followed by the reason they were approached (64 per cent) and the estimated salary range of the job (52 per cent).

In terms of what makes a great interview experience, 65 per cent of local professionals cited a conversation with the prospective employer’s leadership, while 45 per cent said they would be happy if they received interview follow-up, and 40 per cent said they would appreciate answers to questions about the business.

Asked specifically if they wanted to receive feedback after an interview, as many as 94 per cent said they did, but only 41 per cent had received any feedback from potential employers in the past.

“It’s tough to not receive feedback after an interview. How else will I know how to improve?” one survey participant said.

“Some of these things might sound obvious, but one of the things we found is that 83 per cent of professionals who have a negative interview experience can immediately change their mind about a role or a company that they previously liked,” Yee says.

Conclusions LinkedIn reached from the survey include advising employers to invest in channels that professionals use to find job opportunities, include impactful information in their initial communication, and partner with hiring managers and leadership to create a better interview experience for the people they want to bring on board.