President’s Message

From HR Journal January/February 2018 Issue


Dear members,


Ready for the Year Ahead



Hong Kong kicked off 2018 on a positive note on both the economic and employment fronts. Our city’s economic growth has been spurred by the revitalisation of the global economy and China’s strong economic growth of 6.9 per cent in 2017. According to the Financial Secretary’s estimates, Hong Kong’s economic growth for 2017 will possibly reach 3.7 per cent in real terms and the surplus in the government’s coffers is believed to amount to HK$160 billion in 2017 thanks to the vibrant property and stock markets. Though Hong Kong’s jobless rate of 2.9 per cent for the last quarter of 2017 was a 20-year record low, indicating an overall improvement in Hong Kong’s employment market, the city’s workforce is rapidly ageing and shrinking, against a backdrop of digitised transformation in various sectors and industries.




In December last year, the Institute responded to the Financial Secretary’s invitation to submit views on a range of crucial manpower and employment issues, including population ageing, labour shortages, a dwindling workforce, talent grooming and lifelong learning. In the submission, we emphasised the importance of ensuring that Hong Kong should have the right mix of human capital as well as sufficient manpower and talent to drive and underpin our long-term socio-economic development.




Understandably, many of these initiatives will require additional financial commitments from the government. We trust that the necessary budgetary provisions will be made to ensure their timely implementation.




According to the latest population projection by the Census and Statistics Department, Hong Kong’s total labour force will start to decrease from 2022 and the labour force participation rate is expected to drop from 59.2 per cent in 2016 to 49.6 per cent in 2066. Therefore, a holistic and forward-looking strategy needs to be put in place to unleash our city’s potential human capital and to minimise any economic impact that an ageing and dwindling workforce might have. In addressing the challenge of population ageing, Hong Kong can draw on Singapore’s rehiring policy to come up with a similar policy to promote the rehiring of “young-olds” (i.e., retirees still capable of working), thereby enlarging our manpower pool.




We recommend that the government take affirmative action to encourage and facilitate employers to rehire “young-old” workers. These measures might include providing tax incentives for employers who rehire “young-old” employees, making MPF contributions on behalf of these employees and their employers, setting up a central scheme that facilitates employers to procure mandatory employee compensation insurance in the market, as well as setting an example by progressively increasing the number of “young-old” employees in the civil service system and in the public sector.




In view of the city’s imminent ageing population, the Institute fully supports strengthening the provision of elderly services, with the possible options of recruiting retired nurses to work in elderly homes or day-care facilities in the community and giving subsidies to the elderly who subscribe to homebased elderly care.




As digitisation and artificial intelligence are poised to reshape our future employment landscape, it is imperative that proper training be provided for employees to allow them to embrace the future of work and seize new career opportunities. In light of these developments, we urge the government to review its strategy to promote lifelong learning in close consultation with the business, professional and education sectors to ensure that our workforce is upskilled and reskilled to keep ahead of the times. With the 2018-2019 Budget set to be announced by the Financial Secretary on 28 February, we hope that the Institute’s views on Hong Kong’s employment and labour issues will be taken into consideration by the government. Meanwhile, this year we will continue our research efforts on essential employment-related topics such as MPF offsetting and enhanced maternity leave provisions and submit our professional views to the government as part of the Institute’s advocacy commitment. Taking this opportunity, I wish members a successful, fruitful and rewarding year in 2018.




David Li

President of HKIHRM

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