'Talent trawl won't disadvantage local workers' - RTHK
Temperature Humidity
News Archive Can search within past 12 months

'Talent trawl won't disadvantage local workers'

2022-10-21 HKT 12:17
Share this story facebook
  • 'Talent trawl won't disadvantage local workers'
Labour and Welfare Secretary Chris Sun said on Friday that Hong Kong must be proactive in tackling its manpower shortage, noting that nearly two-thirds of recent departures from the workforce were highly skilled, though he stressed that local workers would not be at a disadvantage.

In his Policy Address on Wednesday, Chief Executive John Lee said some 140,000 people had left the workforce in the past two years. Sun said that doesn't necessarily mean that all of these people had moved overseas, though he didn't elaborate.

Speaking on an RTHK programme, Sun said about 88,000 of those who had left could be described as highly skilled, while more than half were aged between 25 and 39.

"We've spoken to different sectors, almost everyone agreed they can't find talent right now. The shortage is most serious for the middle-ranking and high-ranking workers. Clearly it's very difficult to hire," Sun said.

"What we can't deny is that we can't just rely on the local talent base right now, because it seems there are just not enough people."

The minister explained that while the government attaches great importance to job opportunities for locals, there's a need to bring in talent from elsewhere to fill the gaps and revive the economy.

Locals also have an advantage, he said, because they are familiar with the place and don't need to worry about the costs of moving here.

Sun said the government aims to import some 35,000 talented individuals in each of the next three years through different schemes.

He stressed that people shouldn't focus on the salary threshold for Lee's proposed Top Talent Pass Scheme, which eases visa restrictions of those earning HK$2.5 million a year. By comparison, Singapore has introduced a similar scheme with a threshold of about HK$2 million.

The minister said the public should also look at other features, such as Hong Kong's offer of visas to graduates from the world's top 100 universities.

In his Policy Address, Lee also proposed importing more carers next year for elderly and disabled care homes.

Sun said this was needed because for years it's been hard to find enough carers.

He added that right now, only private homes can employ non-local carers and numbers are limited. He said the government was looking to allow all homes to hire outside the SAR.

"Right now, we're knocking out the exact detail of the special scheme. We hope we'll be able to share with the public very soon about how we're going to relax the [local-to-imported worker] ratio control," he said.

Sun said officials are looking to provide more training for local carers so that they have a better chance of promotion after they join the industry.

'Talent trawl won't disadvantage local workers'