Employers in Hong Kong struggling to retain talent

Driven by factors such as emigration and raising wages, companies in Hong Kong have been facing a labour shortage for at least a year.
By: | June 8, 2023

Hong Kong’s labour shortage has become significant, with nearly three in four Hong Kong companies struggling with a lack of manpower.

In a poll of 196 members companies conducted this April, the Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce found that 74% of respondents were suffering from a shortage of labour, with 61% saying they have been facing this problem for one to three years. Furthermore, 22% of companies claim this has been a long-term issue spanning beyond three years.

One of the key reasons attributed to the labour shortage has been the high rate of emigration out of Hong Kong, said George Leung Siu-kay, the outgoing Chief Executive of the Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce. He also identified a “vicious cycle” where more employees have started seeking higher salaries because of the labour shortage and organisations are willing to do so to retain staff.

“The authorities need to figure out how to solve the shortages as increasing wages and competition to retain employees will only cause a vicious cycle in the labour market and affect productivity. Small businesses and social enterprises with limited financial resources will be hit the hardest,” said Leung.

READ MORE: Work-life balance a growing priority for employees in Hong Kong 

Hong Kong has suffered a brain drain in recent years, losing 210,000 workers between early 2019 and the end of 2022, with statistics showing that another 94,100 people leaving last year as well. While the government has tried to resolve the situation by launching schemes such as the Top Talent Pass Scheme and multiple government talent admission schemes, these have not been able to address the labour shortage, reported South China Morning Post.