SCMP Tuesday, June 19, 2001
Survey finds SAR workers to be the least loyal
Hong Kong workers are the least loyal in Asia and many feel trapped in their jobs, a pan-Asian survey released yesterday found.
Labour rights advocates expressed no surprise at the findings and blamed fragile employer-worker relations.
An academic said fractious relations in the workplace had been further dampened by the economic downturn and the introduction of the Mandatory Provident Fund (MPF).
It is the second year that market research firm Asia Market Intelligence has carried out a survey to study employees' commitment - and the second year that Hong Kong workers have been ranked the least loyal.
After interviewing a total of 1,679 workers in March, the firm found that nearly a third of Hong Kong workers (29 per cent) felt no obligation to stay with their employers.
The rate was the highest among nine countries and territories surveyed in Asia. China registered the second highest rate with 18 per cent, followed by Malaysia and Singapore, both with 16 per cent.
Hong Kong was also found to be the place with the fewest loyal workers, with only 21 per cent saying they were truly loyal, committed and intended to stay with their employers. The most loyal workforces can be found in South Korea and Taiwan, where 51 per cent and 49 per cent respectively say they are committed to their employers.
The research also found that 44 per cent of workers in Hong Kong said they were trapped - miserable in their work but staying because they had little option. The figure is a three per cent rise on last year's survey.
Legislator Lee Cheuk-yan, of the Confederation of Trade Unions, said relations between workers and bosses in Hong Kong had never been good. "It is partly due to the 'instant noodle' social culture. Employers simply do not offer training to their workers so that they can fit into a job," he said.
"Workers will be fired immediately if employers think they have failed to do the job.
"Workers in turn will not commit to the company, and once they find a better job, they will leave."
The legislator suggested the situation could only be improved if workers were given more equality when negotiating with bosses.
Professor Ho Lok-sang, head of economics at Lingnan University, said the economic downturn and the introduction of the Mandatory Provident Fund had added to difficulties in industrial relations.
"Bosses do not want to pay and are picky with workers during difficult times. The MPF was introduced at a very bad time, which further deteriorated the relationship," Professor Ho said.
He said Hong Kong people should try to remedy the matter or risk losing foreign investment.