Pedestrians use a crossing in Central, Hong Kong, on Feb 28. (ANDY CHONG / CHINA DAILY)
The Hong Kong Special Administration Region will soon announce plans to import workers to cope with the severe manpower shortage in the construction and transportation sectors.
Speaking ahead of a weekly Executive Council meeting, Chief Executive John Lee Ka-chiu said on Tuesday many Hong Kong industries are facing an acute lack of labor as the local economy gradually picks up following the COVID-19 pandemic. The government will deal with the shortages in various ways, including limited importation of labor.
Nearly three-quarters of Hong Kong enterprises are facing the lingering impact of a talent shortage due to labor outflow and employees’ desire for a better work-life balance, according to a survey released by the Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce on June 6.
Of the 196 companies surveyed, 74 percent were affected by an insufficient talent supply, and 61 percent of them said they have had staffing issues for the past one to three years.
Chief Executive John Lee Ka-chiu said the government will, at the same time, try its best to protect the interests of local workers. Priority will still be given to hiring local workers, and workers from overseas will be only employed to ease the manpower shortages in certain industries
Hong Kong companies in various industries have taken diverse measures to address talent shortages, according to the survey.
Lee said the government will, at the same time, try its best to protect the interests of local workers. Priority will still be given to hiring local workers, and workers from overseas will be only employed to ease the manpower shortages in certain industries.
Lee pledged to protect the wages of local workers by ensuring that the salaries of imported workers will not be lower than the median wage of the jobs taken up.
He stressed that hiring workers from overseas is just an auxiliary and temporary measure. The government will continue to strengthen vocational education and training, including expanding recruitment, strengthening working skills, simplifying working procedures, improving the working environment and promoting the application of technology.
According to Lee, the labor shortage not only affects the growth of industries, but also has an impact on the quality and quantity of services offered to the public, and undermines the SAR’s overall competitiveness.
In dealing with the scarcity of labor, the government has consulted with representatives of various businesses, and attaches importance to the views of the Labor Advisory Board, Lee said.
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