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Matthew Cheung on the Hong Kong labour market in 2027

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Matthew Cheung Kin-chung, chief secretary for administration of the HKSAR government, shared his insights about the future Hong Kong labour landscape on Monday.

Cheung estimated the growth of the labour force will be hamstrung by the ageing population and low birth rate. In 2027, the size of the workforce would shrink to 357,000, after increasing from 3.64 million to 3.68 million during 2017 and 2022.

Although there would be an increase in the number of those in the workforce aged between 25 and 64, the number of elderly people, those aged 65 or above, will also reach 197,000 by 2027, leading to a drop of 4.2% in labour force participation rate.

According to Cheung’s predictions, female in the workforce will continue to grow from 1.65 million in 2017 to 1.69 million within eight years, while the number of males will decline from 1.99 million in 2017 to 1.88 million in 2027.

Labour demand will outstrip the labour market by 2027. Between 2017 and 2027, there will be about a 0.3% of growth in demand for talents every year. There would be a shortfall of 169,700 in the Hong Kong workforce. Cheung suggested to fill the talent gap with a diversified workforce such as mothers, ethic minorities, immigrants, the disabled and the elderly.

The industries with the biggest talent demand are professional and business services (+1.4% per year), information technology (+1.2%), financial services (+1.1%), social and personal services (+0.9%), real estate  (+0.8%), and the construction industry (+0.5%).

Roles with niche skills (manager and top management, specialists, assistant specialists) would be catapulted up to 46.4%, while the demand for jobs with functions such as administrative support would drop from 57.2% to 53.6%.

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