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Employers in Hong Kong spent 3.5% of their salary budget on training in 2014, reaching a 10-year high in their learning investments.
In March to April this year, Hong Kong Institute of Human Resources Management surveyed about 4,900 full-time employers from 117 corporations, finding corporate spend on training will go up this year as employers try to help their staff stay competitive.
With an optimistic L&D outlook, the Institute found that an employer’s willingness to spend on training is not necessarily related to the economy.
In 2004, since when the study has been conducted, not too long after SARS, corporations shelled out 2.8% of their salary budget on training.
This was similar to the amount spent in 2007 when the stock market was booming, with the Hang Seng index hitting a historic high of more than 32,000 points.
In 2009, not long after the Asian financial crisis, corporate spend on training was pegged at 3.3%.
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The average number of training hours was 17.5 hours in 2014, even as more than two-thirds (67%) of companies offered up to 20 hours of training to their employees.
The statutory body/NGO sector offered the highest number of training hours for employees (24.1 hours), followed by retail (18.3 hours) and construction/real estate property development (18.2 hours).
The Institute noted that companies today are more aware of the importance of staff development and do not hesitate to spend even during rainy days.
Another point worth noting is that the percentage of salary spent on training does not refer to the actual amount of money spent.
For example, for companies paying a salary of $100 when the economy was doing well, a spend of 2.8% would have translated into $2.8.
However, in bad times, the salaries paid may drop to $70, in which case an increase of 3.3% spent on training, would translate to only $2.3.