Tech pro poaching places Hong Kong in staff crunch

HONG KONG: PR agencies continue to be the leading sector from which the rising e-commerce industry is poaching staff in Hong Kong - and the staffing crunch is rapidly approaching the crisis level, according to a survey conducted by executive search firm Morgan & Banks (M&B).

HONG KONG: PR agencies continue to be the leading sector from which the rising e-commerce industry is poaching staff in Hong Kong - and the staffing crunch is rapidly approaching the crisis level, according to a survey conducted by executive search firm Morgan & Banks (M&B).

HONG KONG: PR agencies continue to be the leading sector from which

the rising e-commerce industry is poaching staff in Hong Kong - and the

staffing crunch is rapidly approaching the crisis level, according to a

survey conducted by executive search firm Morgan & Banks (M&B).



The firm, which released its quarterly Job Index survey results last

month, found that more than 75% of media and PR industry respondents to

the survey considered e-commerce a serious threat to staff

retention.



San Lee, head of M&B’s consumer group in North Asia, said that agencies

are losing staffers at a faster rate than corporates. ’Most candidates

at the director level and above in PR agencies have been approached by

at least two dot-coms or Internet-related companies this quarter,’ she

said.While most PR agencies acknowledge that they cannot match

remuneration packages being offered by Internet companies, Lee suggested

managers should tackle the staffing crisis now, as more than a third of

the survey’s respondents expected the situation to worsen this quarter:

more than 64% of PR agencies said they expected to increase their staff

levels during the next three months.



’Managers need to outline a clear career path with a timeline,’ she

explained.



’It’s difficult to compete against stock options, but a performance

bonus with a more transparent system can be effective.’



On average, dot-coms are offering a 20-25% salary boost to candidates

working in PR, and IT specialists are not their only targets. ’They’re

also keen to hire people with financial and consumer backgrounds,

particularly financial people because many of them are planning an

eventual public listing,’ she said



Lee suggested fast-track promotions as a way of attracting and retaining

staff - a tactic many PR agency managers do not support. ’Previously, it

was okay to expect someone to work for two or three years before a

promotion, but since the Internet sector took off, they expect it after

one year, or they leave,’ she said. ’The retention war is basically

over, and the employees won.’



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