25 August 2019
Employers need to develop incentives to attract, engage and retain their workforce. Photo: Bloomberg
Employers need to develop incentives to attract, engage and retain their workforce. Photo: Bloomberg

How to manage a multi-generational workforce

In the midst of economic uncertainties, Hong Kong employers are facing three pressing human capital issues – managing a multi-generational workforce, high talent mobility and critical talent scarcity.

Indeed, against the backdrop of critical talent scarcity in Asia, businesses are under increasing pressure to upgrade their talent management strategies to combat the human capital challenges they face.

With the continuous tightening of the labor market and the burden this puts on a company’s leadership and talent pipeline, it is increasingly important that companies use all the tools available to help plan for the future.

Managing a multi-generational workforce

As the number of Millennials entering the workforce grows, more than two-thirds (69 percent) of HR leaders surveyed by Randstad Sourceright for its Global Trends 2015 study said that managing an age-diverse workforce is one of the most daunting challenges they will face this year.

Each generation of workers – from Baby Boomers to Generation Z – is significantly different in the way they communicate, how they use technology and what they expect from their colleagues and managers.

To manage this multi-generational workforce, employers need to strengthen their employer brand by understanding what motivates each generation and develop incentives to attract, engage and retain them.

Another generational shift that HR leaders must prepare for is the rise of Hong Kong’s ageing population. Hong Kong is the second fastest ageing population in Asia behind Japan. The proportion of those aged 65 and over is projected to rise markedly to 27 percent in 2033.

The ageing trend will also be revealed by the increasing median age of the population, reaching 49 in 2033 from 38 in 2003. How HR leaders can effectively manage this change will have a big impact on their organizations’ business performance.

Managing critical talent scarcity

A shift from labor-intensive to more skilled work is contributing to a significant shortage of professional and technical talent. This explains why the majority (73 percent) of HR leaders feel the war for talent still accurately reflects today’s talent environment.

Rapid innovation is fueling new jobs growth in sectors on the cutting edge of science and technology, changing the skills needed in today’s world of work and putting pressure on the available talent pools.

About 69 percent of HR leaders surveyed are turning to talent analytics and insights to help them map and address real and potential skills gaps. Harnessing talent analytics and predictive workforce intelligence helps business leaders look ahead and anticipate staffing requirements long before they need it.

This includes a data-driven approach to future workforce planning, forecasting potential talent gaps, spotting high-performers early on, and predicting when your workforce is considering jumping ship.

Strategic solutions and approaches including recruitment process outsourcing and an enhanced employer brand will also play a role in helping organizations fill critical skills gaps and win the war for talent.

Managing high talent mobility

With unemployment remaining low at 3.3 percent, the strong job market in Hong Kong serves as the number one risk to staff retention. Last year, in a sign of increasing competition for global talent, worker mobility around the world continued to climb to new heights.

Our research shows that nearly one fifth of employers plan to recruit from overseas because of the talent scarcity. That figure jumps to 26 percent for companies based in Hong Kong.

However, employers can exploit mobility as a talent engagement tool and incorporate it into their employer brand, with assignments in different geographies being a big motivator for employees to develop skills and boost their careers.

Employers also win – benefitting from the new skills and experiences their internal talent gains across different geographies and cultures.

With 63 percent of employers intending to hire more professional and technical talent this year, businesses in Hong Kong and across Asia need to find skilled talent and find them fast.

Companies in the region need to look toward a strategic plan versus a tactical recruitment approach – stepping up their game by investing in strategic planning, specialized staffing solutions such as recruitment process outsourcing (RPO), and talent analytics to combat the human capital challenges they face.

– Contact us at [email protected]


Regional Director of Randstad Sourceright Asia Pacific

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