Hong Kong wants expat workers

Hong Kong

The Hong Kong government is increasingly seeking to attract skilled foreign workers in a bid to pre-empt a predicted labour crisis.

Once a British colony, Hong Kong now has one of the most rapidly ageing populations in the world, unfortunately partnered with extremely birth rates. The Hong Kong government has predicted that around 14,000 employees may be needed by 2018.

This 14,000 shortfall is needed just to maintain its existing labour force, without taking into account any growth in jobs as the economy expands. This 14,000 shortfall is needed simply to cover existing positions, and not new roles that will inevitably arise as the economy grows.

Labour and Welfare Secretary Matthew Cheung said: "The government has put in place a host of measures to attract and nurture talents and upgrade the skills of our workforce in order to ensure an adequate manpower supply. It is noteworthy that the growth in both the manpower requirement and supply is projected to tilt towards workers with higher education qualifications. Aging population is one of the key population policy issues on which the government has been focusing its efforts. As the retirees leave the labour force, the growth in manpower supply will be hindered.”

Demand for professional workers in the finance industry is likely to increase by around 2.5 per cent by 2018. Around 17 percent of Hong Kong’s population will be 65 years old come 2018, compared with 13 percent last year.

This has created a need for educated foreign workers to move to Hong Kong. However, while Hong Kong is looking to bring in more foreign workers, it faces strong competition from local rivals Singapore, Tokyo and Shanghai.