Alongside all of the challenges that have been fueled by the circumstances of the last year, ensuring that businesses across sectors in Hong Kong have the best choice of manpower has been causing headaches in our community.
There does seem to have been some disruption in the talent pool, and if this is the case, whether it is a temporary upset related to the pandemic, remains to be seen. But we do know that manpower has long been an issue for the city, particularly in the key area of innovation and technology.
For many years, the Chamber has been making proposals to the Government on ways to tackle this problem, and we are pleased to see our views have been listened to. In the past few years, the Government has unveiled HK$130 billion of funding to promote I&T development at the same time as increasing investment in STEM education programmes for schools.
There is support from the Central Government as well, with Hong Kong being designated as an I&T centre for the Greater Bay Area. Meanwhile, the recent development around the new Northern Metropolis project will further enhance Hong Kong’s I&T capacity by providing more capacity for the sector to develop, and the creation of many new jobs.
In the longer term, we hope this mix of investment in education and direct support of I&T industries will improve the skills of Hong Kong people and also make the city more attractive to global tech talent.
These are extraordinary times, with the global pandemic continuing to affect all of our businesses, which may in the short term fuel the concerns around a talent gap.
Hong Kong’s quarantine restrictions are no doubt having an impact on recruitment. We hope that once the travel restrictions are finally eased, the usual inward flow of talent will resume and balance will be restored.
At the same time, we should not be complacent about the future as we don’t want to see the problem getting worse. We should recognize the whole world is competing for talent, with many having the same aspirations as Hong Kong. We need to analyze the current situation to get a clearer picture of how it is affecting local businesses and understand what the key pain points are to ensure that we are doing everything possible to address them.
To this end, the Chamber is currently working on a survey that will be distributed to members of our various policy committees. This will give us a better picture of the manpower situation right now for local businesses, so we can ensure our lobbying work is targeted in the most effective manner.
We encourage members who receive this survey to participate. And, as always, we welcome suggestions from all of our members on how the Chamber can help you to deal with this perennial issue.
As we move into the new year, I look forward to working with our members to find solutions to the city’s manpower challenges alongside other key business issues. This will help us all enjoy a happy and prosperous 2022.