Concrete Evidence That Hong Kong’s Talent Shortages Will Impact The Economy

Before diving into the issue of talent shortages, let’s take a macro view of the economy. There are four so called “pillars” of Hong Kong’s economy which contribute the major proportion of GDP (Gross Domestic Product) on a yearly basis.

  • Trading and logistics                                                             23.9%
  • Financial services                                                                  16.5%
  • Professional services and other producer services             12.4%
  • Tourism                                                                                    5.0%

Given the above information, the HKIHRM’s recent survey of 150 Hong Kong companies makes troubling reading. The survey revealed that the top 5 sectors facing a talent shortage problem in 2015 were as follows:

The top 5 Hong Kong business sectors that faced talent shortages in 2015

  • Logistics/Transport/Transport Services                                 64%
  • IT                                                                                             50%
  • Business/Professional Services                                             39%
  • Wholesale/Import & Export/Trading/Distribution                36%
  • Restaurant/Catering                                                              33%

Aside from the IT sector, there is a case to be made that each of the other Talent shortage areas is intrinsically linked to one of the four economic pillars.

Trading & Logistics will surely be affected by talent shortages in Logistics/ Transport/ Transport Services and Wholesale/ Import & Export/ Trading/Distribution. The health of Professional services and other producer services is going to be impacted by a talent drain in Business/Professional Services. Lastly a restaurant/catering talent shortage whilst not the sole threat to the Tourism industry, can only result in dissatisfaction amongst tourists visiting Hong Kong’s food & beverage establishments.

Whilst it is easy to recognise that the main areas of Talent shortage in Hong Kong are within fundamentally significant industries, in order to assess exactly how big an impact this will have, we can look at some of the explanations for the talent shortages.

The first of the reasons is fierce competition in the industry. Well this should give us hope. Perhaps businesses are in growth-mode, loading up with the manpower needed for certain jobs which allow them take advantage of the thriving economy?

This hope dwindles somewhat when we learn that the other major reasons are lack of available applicants, lack of candidates with relevant experience and lack of candidates with the required skills.

So in fact, this fierce competition is not a race to the top, but a snowball to the bottom. A rat race where companies are desperately trying to pick each other off to attract the last remaining skilled workers in their respective industries. The government must take note and act fast. If you fail to plan, then plan to fail.


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