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Matthew Cheung Kin-chung, Hong Kong Chief Secretary for Administration, recently wrote on his government blog about the current labour landscape. He stated three formidable challenges today’s human resources is facing – an ever-changing external environment, declining labour quality and a shortage of the working population.
Notwithstanding these challenges, the window for alleviating the situation has not been shut entirely. Hong Kong can still use its clout on the global scene and leverage its workforce.
Detailed elaboration of the proposed three challenges:
Ever changing external environment: Hong Kong is facing an uphill battle in the age of a fluctuating global economy, protectionism creeping into the world and technology breakthroughs.
The new wave of innovation and technology hubs has swept the world and distorted the current business model. In particular, automation will eventually contrive a change in business structures and job nature.
Local labour has to upskill themselves regularly.
Declining quality of the workforce: Cheung observes a mismatch between the skills required and the current capabilities of the workforce.
There is also insufficient local talent to support the current diverse economic development, especially the emerging high valued-added industries.
A shortage of the working population: In the past 20 years, the size of workforce has been one of the prominent factors that has boosted overall economic growth.
According to the Census and Statistics Department’s “Hong Kong Population Projections 2017-2066”, the current number of the elderly (1.27 million) is projected to peak in 19 years at 2.37 million, which is 31.1% of the total population.
The ageing population will jeopardise Hong Kong’s status in the global economy.
Cheung urges to liberate the local labour by attracting global talent and utilising innovation and technology.