We operate in a complex and rapidly changing business environment. Major trends with implications for our Human Capital are the energy transition to low carbon economy and the impact of digitalisation on the energy sector, demographic trends and the social and economic consequences of ageing populations, and the future impact of AI and robotics on jobs.
At the end of 2017, the Group employed 7,542 people compared with 7,428 in 2016. A total of 4,269 were employed in the Hong Kong electricity and related businesses and 2,978 by our businesses in Mainland China, India, Southeast Asia, Taiwan and Australia, with the remaining 295 employed by CLP Holdings. Total remuneration for the year ended 31 December 2017 was HK$5,573 million compared with HK$5,151 million in 2016, including retirement benefit costs of HK$561 million compared with HK$440 million in 2016.
Competitive and sustainable benefits
Contributions paid in 2017 to defined contribution schemes, including GPFS and MPF as required under the Hong Kong Mandatory Provident Fund Schemes Ordinance, totalled HK$396 million (2016: HK$288 million). Staff employed by Group entities outside Hong Kong are primarily covered by defined contribution schemes in accordance with local legislation and practices and such total contributions amounted to HK$165 million (2016: HK$152 million). Out of total retirement benefits costs of HK$561 million (2016: HK$440 million), HK$140 million (2016: HK$106 million) was capitalised.
We comply fully with any local legal requirements with respect to minimum wage. In practice, our remuneration and benefits often significantly exceed local legal requirements. We place great importance on treating employees fairly, which includes ensuring a fair wage, fair benefits, fair working hours, and fair treatment regardless of gender, race or other attributes recognised by the laws of the countries in which we operate. In Hong Kong we are currently reviewing our policy on remuneration and benefits for part-time staff.
Effort to enhance staff’s retirement recognised
In 2017, CLP’s Group Provident Fund Scheme won the inaugural Best Asian Private Pension Fund award from Asia Asset Management, in consultation with National University of Singapore Business School’s Centre for Asset Management Resesarch and Investments. The award recognises our efforts in making a marked improvement for the benefit of our members and beneficiaries, particularly over the last year. Other criteria in selecting the award included: having made the most outstanding mark in the retirement savings industry in the past 5-10 years; ensuring a secure and adequate retirement for its members through a prudent investment scheme during their working years; having a strong corporate governance and high membership participation; and being sensible, sustainable and durable over its members’ lifecycle.
Implementing family friendly policies
We reviewed our family friendly leave policies in Hong Kong and announced a number of changes effective 1 January 2018. These include an increase of maternity leave to 16 weeks, enhancement of marriage leave to 5 days, and the introduction of adoption leave.
100% of our employees were entitled to parental leave in accordance with local statutory requirements.
Enhancing employee wellbeing
Subject to respect for individuals' confidentiality, we work with health professionals to use aggregate employee health data to identify common health issues affecting our workforce, so that fact-based prevention measures can be identified.
We recognise that employee wellbeing extends beyond physical health to mental health. In 2017, 84 managers in Hong Kong attended briefing sessions on the importance of mental health in the workplace. In our 2017 independently administered Employee Opinion Survey, we asked 3,794 staff in Hong Kong, their opinions on whether our health and wellness programmes have encouraged them to live a healthier lifestyle. The percentage of staff who agreed or strongly agreed was 28 points above the Hong Kong norm.
EnergyAustralia has continued their efforts in 2017 with a focus on employee wellbeing, offering resilience training to all employees, along with targeted training in the areas of mental health and supporting employees impacted directly or indirectly by family violence. In addition, a pilot programme in conjunction with the Brotherhood of St. Laurence to offer employment within the Geelong Call Centre to refugees commenced, with the first person being placed.
In India, an employee assistance programme was launched across all locations and awareness sessions were conducted.
Our ability to retain staff is reflected in voluntary turnover rates that are generally lower than local market averages. The charts on the right present figures for voluntary staff turnover and average length of service of our employees.