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Job title inflation in Hong Kong leads to employees leaving and recruitment difficulties

Job title inflation in Hong Kong leads to employees leaving and recruitment difficulties

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Due to its limited success, less than 30% of employers are still using senior job titles to attract or retain employees in 2024.

Known as ‘job title inflation’, employers usually offer exaggerated job titles for talent attraction and retention. However, a poll has revealed that less than 30% of employers are still using senior job titles as a strategy to attract or retain employees in 2024 despite its limited success.

In Asia, titles do hold more importance, thus job title inflation is a common practice in Hong Kong and Greater China, and has recently become a global trend. According to Robert Walters Hong Kong, there was a 46% rise in the number of UK and Ireland job adverts that had the words "lead" or "manager" in the title throughout 2023 – but required no more than two years' experience.

Seeing as Hong Kong's market was disrupted by high amounts of hiring and a lack of local talent over 2021-2022, organisations opted to add more titles rather than focusing on developing their employees or providing meaningful career growth. This seemed to have perpetuated the trend of job title inflation.

On the other hand, the rising expectations of Gen Z also drive title inflation. Based on additional polls conducted, the company found that 60% of young workers in Hong Kong hold high expectations for rapid career progression within a company, expecting to be promoted within 12 to 18 months. This indicated that titles are still highly valued by this generation. The survey also revealed that nearly 50% of young workers consider managing a team as the most crucial factor in determining seniority.

However, offering exaggerated job titles without the experience, skills, or salaries to match has limited success and may create problems for employers and employees alike.

For example, when employees realise that these titles hold no intrinsic value or external status, they can quickly become disenfranchised, especially if their compensation package does not match up to the title.

Moreover, the past prevalence of job title inflation has even impacted the recruitment process. The survey found that 40% of managers reported difficulty in finding suitable candidates for open positions due to confusing or overstated job titles in the recent past.


Lead image / 123RF

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