In news that seems at least a bit surprising at first, evidently Hong Kong predicts that they’ll need many new expat workers in the coming 6 years. Better still, at least for the right people, these will be the highly skilled and highly paid jobs that seem to be on the edge in so many other places.
According to a recent article in the Telegraph, the government of Hong Kong is predicting a shortfall of 14,000 workers by 2018 based on today’s growth rates. They blame it on the aging population and low birth rates, which do make sense, but to me it’s at least a little surprising that they don’t seem to think that Chinese people will be able to fill these positions.
Hong Kong has always been two cities
Much more so than Singapore or Tokyo, Hong Kong has had two distinct classes for centuries now. There is the educated (mostly English speaking) class of business people, and the much larger (and mostly Cantonese speaking) group who hold down most mid level and lower paid jobs. According to the article, the group moving into the Cantonese-speaking group is still very large, while the group moving into the higher paying jobs is too small.
They also say that it’s competition from cities like Singapore, Tokyo, and Shanghai that means that many workers prefer to go to those other cities where conditions are often better or cheaper. Considering the number of Chinese nationals in US colleges right now, I would think that they’d have little trouble finding graduates who would love to move to Hong Kong.
However, it could be that the majority of those students are studying science, , technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) subjects, so not enough are going into finance, where most of the opening in Hong Kong will be. Or maybe those who are in finance don’t want to move to Hong Kong?
Big opportunity if you can deal with Hong Kong
For those who are interested in finance or other white-collar professions it seems the prospects in Hong Kong are quite good, obviously. But there is a downside in that many things in Hong Kong are either of poor quality or they are incredibly expensive.
For example, if you want to live in a skyscaper on Hong Kong Island itself it will cost as much as in New York City or Tokyo, and spending less means either a long commute or living in accommodation that seems “Second World.” This is a problem in New York City as well, but at least the jobs there have the potential to pay a lot more.
So for those who are looking to relocate to another destination for job prospects, it sounds like Hong Kong is going to have some good opportunities in the coming years, so they will also likely have to offer some good salaries and benefit packages to lure the right people.