Employee turnover is said to be an increasing phenomenon as with greater availability of jobs, increased ability and ambitions of people, the trend for job-hopping has increased. Turnover implies employee leaving the present job voluntarily and taking up other jobs (Jack Black, 2002). Turnover is not resignation which involves the end of employment by the employer for reasons such as a fall in profits of the company, bankruptcy or merger. Thus, employee turnover is taken up by the employee rather than the employer. Employee turnover is dependent on the type of business and the economic state of the area in which the company is operating. Thus where there is an economic boom, turnover is said to be much greater than in areas where there is no growth or which are undergoing the economic downturn (Employee What, 2002). The phenomenon of employee turnover is considered as one of the natural outcomes of conduct of business in modern organizations. Thus it is said that achieving zero percent turnover is not practical and should not even be attempted in today’s rapidly changing employment environment (Branham, 2000). It is also said that some turn over may be desirable as it would enable a shakeout amongst the employees avoiding bunching up of a large number with similar pay scales, salaries, and capabilities making a pyramid (Branham, 2000). To retain all such employees will be extremely expensive for the organization. New employees are also said to bring in fresh ideas, approaches, abilities, attitudes and also prevent the organization from remaining stagnant (Branham, 2000).
Hong Kong is said to be a very vibrant metropolis which has a life and dynamism of its own making it one of the unique cities in the World. It has a typical Chinese culture which has remained unaffected by British influence over the years (Hong Kong, 2006). It offers a mix of the modern and the ancient, the Oriental and the Western and therein lies its charm. At the same time, the employment environment in Hong Kong follows a very flexible tendency. Thus employees in Hong Kong are not inhibited by generally accepted norms of loyalty and life long service which is characterized by some Eastern management cultures such as the Japanese (Hong Kong, 2006).
Hong Kong job market has been continuously improving since the middle of 2003. This has been very dynamic and there has been greater availability of jobs in Hong Kong over the past few years (HR Service Providers Directory, 2005). There is a link between job growth and turn over of employees as seen from the data published in the HR Service Providers Directory 2000. The quarterly turn over rate as per the Directory, HK/HRM 2005 First Quarter Survey on Manpower Statistics has continued to rise which is also in conformity with vacancy rates which have also shown an upward trend due to lack of suitable candidates. In the first quarter of 2005, the overall turnover rate was .62 % higher than for the previous quarter at 2.99 %, and almost 1 (.92) % higher than in the same period of 2004.