Flexible working options and employee wellbeing are top priorities for job seekers in Asia as they look to the new era of work, finds the new Uncovering the DNA of the Future Workplace in Asia report by leading recruitment experts Hays, which surveyed over 9,000 working professionals across Asia in February and again in September 2020. Respondents across Asia have dropped salary and benefit packages as their top priority and are instead looking at being part of an organisation that values employee wellbeing as not only a crucial element to flexibility, but purpose and connection to their role.
In Hong Kong, these results are mirrored with remote working options emerging as a top priority for professionals when seeking a new employer in the post-pandemic future, and employee wellbeing as the definition of purpose in the new era of work. 
Remote working is key
Remote working has been a necessity for businesses in Hong Kong to continue operations recently and is understandably at the forefront of every employee’s concerns. An overwhelming 87 per cent of respondents in Hong Kong said that remote working options became their top priority following the pandemic with a further 78 per cent saying flexible hours, and 67 per cent saying employee wellbeing programs. Research shows that the majority of employers in Hong Kong are now considering making remote working a permanent fixture, a welcome addition for employees that also saves valuable rental costs for an organisation. These findings also tie in well with the rise of flexible recruitment solutions in Hong Kong i.e. the hiring of contracting or temporary workers.
This is indicated in our data as well, with 69 per cent of organisations in Hong Kong currently providing remote working options now (up from 40 per cent pre-pandemic), and a further 57 per cent offering flexible hours – the highest such number in Asia after China (60 per cent). 55 per cent of respondents were also in favour of compressed hours, such as 4-day work weeks, which have recently gained importance in the region as a way to compensate workers for pay cuts. These also tie in with the rising importance of employee wellbeing, with the majority of respondents saying that flexible working options (79 per cent) and remote working options (70 per cent) would contribute to better work life balance. 
Employee wellbeing builds purpose 
After salary or benefit package (62 per cent), the majority of respondents in Hong Kong said they would be willing to comprise on work life balance for a feeling of purpose or connection to their role (48 per cent), even though most of them (89 per cent) said work-life balance was important/very important to them. When asked what constituted meaningful work pre-pandemic, the majority of respondents said ‘being recognised and rewarded for their contributions’, followed by ‘feeling or seeing the impact of your work on the larger company’ (65 per cent) and ‘Identifying or agreeing with a company's values and mission’ (57 per cent). But when surveyed again in September, respondents have named ‘being part of an organisation that values employee wellbeing’ as their top priority. However, the number of organisations currently offering this in Hong Kong (38 per cent) is the lowest in Asia.
Jack Leung, Regional Director for Hays Hong Kong commented, “The seismic shift in the value placed on employee wellbeing will define the new era of work and beyond. Along with the rising sentiment in favour of employee wellbeing, the resounding call for remote and flexible working options, which are also important aspects of work life balance, is unlikely to dissipate in an increasingly volatile world. These findings on flexibility are also well in line with the rapidly growing contracting and temporary worker market in Hong Kong. The relationship between contracting and flexibility appears to have formed a virtuous circle in recent times, with a growing temp market making flexible hours more mainstream and vice versa. Workplaces of the future will not only realise the benefits of flexibility on employee wellbeing, but also how it can be utilised to augment staff and optimise resources through the hiring of contacting or temporary staff.”
About the Report  

The Uncovering the DNA of the Future Workplace in Asia report is based on findings from two surveys conducted on more than 4,000 and 5,000 respondents respectively across the five Hays operating markets in Asia: China, Japan, Hong Kong SAR, Singapore, and Malaysia; to measure sentiments on the four core elements we believe will shape workplaces of the future: flexibility, technology, upskilling and purpose. The first survey was concluded in February 2020 at the cusp of the pandemic, with the second having concluded in September of the same year. By comparing the two surveys, our findings aim to form a definitive understanding of how the pandemic has altered working sentiments, as well as a barometer for organisations as they seek to understand, attract and retain top talent amidst current challenges and those to come. 
Download your copy of the full report here.  
About Hays Hong Kong SAR
Hays Specialist Recruitment Hong Kong is the one of the leading specialist recruitment companies in Hong Kong SAR in recruiting qualified, professional and skilled people across a wide range of industries and professions. 
Hays has been in Hong Kong SAR for over a decade and boasts a track record of success and growth. At Hays in Hong Kong SAR, we operate across the private and public sector, dealing in permanent, temporary and contracting positions in the following specialisms: Accountancy & Finance, Banking & Financial Services, Construction, Digital Technology, Engineering, Finance Technology, Human Resources, Information Technology, Insurance, Legal, Life Sciences, Marketing & Digital, Office Professionals, Property, Procurement, Supply Chain and Sales. Hays Hong Kong SAR has been awarded the “Best Workplace for Women™” and one of the ‘Best Workplaces™ in Greater China 2019’ by Great Place to Work®.
About Hays
Hays plc (the "Group") is a leading global professional recruiting group. The Group is the expert at recruiting qualified, professional and skilled people worldwide, being the market leader in the UK and Australia and one of the market leaders in Continental Europe, Latin America and Asia. The Group operates across the private and public sectors, dealing in permanent positions, contract roles and temporary assignments. As at 30 June 2020 the Group employed c.10,400 staff operating from 266 offices in 33 countries across 20 specialisms. For the year ended 30 June 2020:
–    the Group reported net fees of £996.2 million and operating profit (pre-exceptional items) of £135.0 million;
–    the Group placed around 66,000 candidates into permanent jobs and around 235,000 people into temporary roles;
–    17% of Group net fees were generated in Australia & New Zealand, 26% in Germany, 23% in United Kingdom & Ireland and 34% in Rest of World (RoW);
–    the temporary placement business represented 59% of net fees and the permanent placement business represented 41% of net fees;
–    IT is the Group’s largest specialism, with 25% of net fees, while Accountancy & Finance (15%) and Construction & Property (12%), are the next largest
–    Hays operates in the following countries: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Hungary, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, UAE, the UK and the USA

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