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Hong Kong – Shrinking workforce a growing concern

23 October 2013

The balance of power has shifted on the island of Hong Kong, with employers afraid to terminate poor employees for fear of being unable to find replacements, reports Bloomberg. According to a report from ManpowerGroup, 57% of employers in Hong Kong are having difficulty finding the right staff, the highest figure since 2008.

The conclusion that is being drawn from this, is that Hong Kong is edging closer to the demographic turning point where, like China, its workforce will shrink.

Lancy Chui, regional Managing Director of ManpowerGroup, said: “Hong Kong employers report a considerably more pronounced talent shortage than their global peers. More than 80% of employers surveyed said that staff shortages would affect their ability to service clients and maintain competitiveness.” 

Hong Kong’s labour force stood at 3.9 million in August 2013, out of the city’s population of 7.2 million. The unemployment rate was 3.3% in September 2013, and has not exceeded 4% since October 2010.

According to the labour force projections released by the Census and Statistics Department last year, the number of Hong Kong’s workers below the age of 55 will shrink by 60,000 by 2018, as the population dwindles. It is estimated that there will be a shortfall of 14,000 workers that year, assuming the city’s economy expands at 4% per year. With a higher growth rate, the deficit could reach 163,800 employees. 

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