20 April 2019
Many wage earners in Hong Kong think that when their bosses consider promotion, personal impression may weigh more than merit and performance. Photo: HKEJ
Many wage earners in Hong Kong think that when their bosses consider promotion, personal impression may weigh more than merit and performance. Photo: HKEJ

Likeability and luck key to promotion, survey finds

Hong Kong employees rank being liked by their superiors as the most important factor in determining promotion.

On a seven-point scale, “supervisor liking you” rated 5.9, followed by “luck” (5.29) and “good performance reviews” (5.19), according to the latest job promotions report by jobsDB.

The survey polled more than 10,000 respondents from seven Asian countries.

Local employees rated “working long hours” (3.71) and “length of time since last promotion” (3.73) as the least important factors.

Singaporeans were similar, with “length of time since last promotion” being the most unimportant aspect.

A total of 10,389 employees from seven Asian countries rated “good performance reviews,” “supervisors liking you” and “leadership ability” as the most important factors in determining promotion prospects.

From an enterprise point of view, 493 hirers listed their most important factors as “good performance reviews” (6.38), “leadership ability” (5.92) and “exceptional work” (5.79). “Luck” (3.16) and “having friends or relatives higher up” (2.68) are the least important factors.

Hong Kong people don’t think they are promoted fairly

Hong Kong employees feel that the promotion decision-making process is not fair in terms of consistency, objectivity and opportunity to appeal.

That view is held almost equally by those promoted (3.31 out of seven, with four being neutral) as by those not promoted (3.29).

Accordingly, human resources departments should make their procedures more transparent to employees to enhance motivation and job satisfaction.

“The results indicate that there is a big gap between the perception of employees and hirers on the decision criteria for job promotion,” said Justin Yiu, general manager of Jobs DB Hong Kong Ltd.

“Therefore, some work needs to be done by HR departments to ensure that everyone fully understands what exactly hirers are looking for, such as having measurable key performance indicators, and objective criteria and a clear system for choosing candidates, instead of just supervisor recommendations,” Yiu said.

“That way, employees can do their best to impress and win that promotion.”

Tips for moving up the ladder

According to the survey, it usually takes 2.92 years before promotion takes place in Hong Kong, with promotion to middle levels (such as senior officer) taking the longest (3.42 years). Singapore has the longest period between promotions (3.83 years) among all the surveyed locations.

So, if you have already built up enough time with your company but haven’t been promoted, you may want to review your career strategy, according to jobsDB.

1) For most hirers, seeing employees “working long hours” (4.19) or “length of time since last promotion” (4.39) is not a major factor when considering an employee’s promotion.

Accordingly, consider demonstrating that you can “work smarter” with “leadership ability” (5.92), producing “exceptional work” (5.79) and “taking the initiative” (5.71).

2) Some activities, such as “taking on more job responsibility” (5.86) and “getting coaching/mentoring” (5.06), can also impress your superiors and are perceived by hirers as influential in determining promotions.

On the other hand, “enrolling for further studies, certification and training outside the company” (4.30) is not regarded highly by hirers.

– Contact us at [email protected]


EJI Weekly Newsletter

Please click here to unsubscribe