Emigrant Surge Driving High-Skilled Brain Drain in Hong Kong: Survey

A recent survey by headhunting company Venturenix found that a serious loss of IT talent is occurring in Hong Kong.The survey covered 101 companies of all sizes, including construction, real estate, retail, hotel, and tourism, and sampled the recruitment activities of 200 companies. The recent emigration wave was identified as a major reason for the shortage of IT talent. Yuen Yik-ting, director of Venturenix, said at a press conference in late May that although some companies have significantly increased their salaries for IT positions, the resignation rate in the Hong Kong IT industry has doubled from 12 percent last year to 24 percent this year. The emigration wave has caused the loss of 10,000 to 15,000 IT workers. In the next five years, Hong Kong will need an additional 100,000 IT workers. Yuen said that all countries are competing for IT talent now. The United Kingdom, Australia, and Canada are the most popular immigration destinations for those leaving Hong Kong. Survey from the Chamber According to a survey conducted by the Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce (the Chamber) in March, the city has experienced the most serious loss of skilled professionals recorded in the past 30 years. Although 58 percent of respondents indicated that they expect the emigration-induced turnover rate to stabilize in 2022, some 35 percent of respondents were less optimistic and anticipated more shortages of skilled workers to come. The Chamber conducted an interview and survey of 220 companies from January 10 to 21 this year, and found that the brain drain spans a broad rage of skills, especially engineering and technical services, followed by finance and accounting, information technology, and senior and general management. In terms of organizational hierarchy, most of the lost talent is from middle and senior management. The dominant age group leaving Hong Kong is 30 to 49. According to the survey, the outflow of technical talent has brought pressure to Hong Kong enterprises, and 45 percent of large enterprises believe that this loss has had a serious impact on their operations. Chamber Chairman Peter Wong said Hong Kong’s success is built on its highly skilled workforce, making the loss of human capital all the more concerning, especially in the face of an aging population. Hong Kong is facing an exodus of educated workers on a scale not seen since the early 1990s, which will have a material  impact on the economy. “Given the importance of human capital in Hong Kong’s service-driven and knowledge-based economy, there is real cause for concern if we cannot stem the current brain drain,” said Wong. As the survey shows, the key reasons for leaving Hong Kong are not so much about career prospects, as 57 percent of the respondents said that the main consideration is better development for their children, and 45 percent said it was the political situation. In 2019, the Chinese Communist Party imposed the Suspect Extradition Ordinance in Hong Kong, triggering mass protests and social unrest, after which many Hong Kongers thought about leaving Hong Kong. Before Hong Kong people move out of the country, they must obtain a Certificate of No Criminal Conviction (CNCC) from the police. Hui Ching-yu, the Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury, told the Hong Kong Legislative Council in December 2020 that data compiled from the Security Bureau and the Education Bureau, showed that the Police Force received about 33,000 applications for CNCC in 2019, 43 percent higher than in 2018. Survey from Hong Kong Public Opinion Research Institute The survey conducted by the Hong Kong Public Opinion Research Institute from March 21 to 24 this year, shows 3 percent of the respondents said they were ready to leave any time; 7 percent said they were preparing to leave; 14 percent plan to leave but have not begun preparations. Among the causes of permanent departure from Hong Kong, 35 percent of respondents emphasized that “deterioration of personal freedom and personal safety” would prompt them to leave; 16 percent said that “the prospects for their family members” was the main consideration; 16 percent said political changes in the environment; and 12 percent for personal living standards. Follow Anne Zhang is a writer for The Epoch Times with a focus on China-related topics. She began writing for the Chinese-language edition in 2014.

Emigrant Surge Driving High-Skilled Brain Drain in Hong Kong: Survey

A recent survey by headhunting company Venturenix found that a serious loss of IT talent is occurring in Hong Kong.

The survey covered 101 companies of all sizes, including construction, real estate, retail, hotel, and tourism, and sampled the recruitment activities of 200 companies.

The recent emigration wave was identified as a major reason for the shortage of IT talent.

Yuen Yik-ting, director of Venturenix, said at a press conference in late May that although some companies have significantly increased their salaries for IT positions, the resignation rate in the Hong Kong IT industry has doubled from 12 percent last year to 24 percent this year. The emigration wave has caused the loss of 10,000 to 15,000 IT workers.

In the next five years, Hong Kong will need an additional 100,000 IT workers. Yuen said that all countries are competing for IT talent now. The United Kingdom, Australia, and Canada are the most popular immigration destinations for those leaving Hong Kong.

Survey from the Chamber

According to a survey conducted by the Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce (the Chamber) in March, the city has experienced the most serious loss of skilled professionals recorded in the past 30 years. Although 58 percent of respondents indicated that they expect the emigration-induced turnover rate to stabilize in 2022, some 35 percent of respondents were less optimistic and anticipated more shortages of skilled workers to come.

The Chamber conducted an interview and survey of 220 companies from January 10 to 21 this year, and found that the brain drain spans a broad rage of skills, especially engineering and technical services, followed by finance and accounting, information technology, and senior and general management.

In terms of organizational hierarchy, most of the lost talent is from middle and senior management. The dominant age group leaving Hong Kong is 30 to 49.

According to the survey, the outflow of technical talent has brought pressure to Hong Kong enterprises, and 45 percent of large enterprises believe that this loss has had a serious impact on their operations.

Chamber Chairman Peter Wong said Hong Kong’s success is built on its highly skilled workforce, making the loss of human capital all the more concerning, especially in the face of an aging population.

Hong Kong is facing an exodus of educated workers on a scale not seen since the early 1990s, which will have a material  impact on the economy. “Given the importance of human capital in Hong Kong’s service-driven and knowledge-based economy, there is real cause for concern if we cannot stem the current brain drain,” said Wong.

As the survey shows, the key reasons for leaving Hong Kong are not so much about career prospects, as 57 percent of the respondents said that the main consideration is better development for their children, and 45 percent said it was the political situation.

In 2019, the Chinese Communist Party imposed the Suspect Extradition Ordinance in Hong Kong, triggering mass protests and social unrest, after which many Hong Kongers thought about leaving Hong Kong.

Before Hong Kong people move out of the country, they must obtain a Certificate of No Criminal Conviction (CNCC) from the police. Hui Ching-yu, the Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury, told the Hong Kong Legislative Council in December 2020 that data compiled from the Security Bureau and the Education Bureau, showed that the Police Force received about 33,000 applications for CNCC in 2019, 43 percent higher than in 2018.

Survey from Hong Kong Public Opinion Research Institute

The survey conducted by the Hong Kong Public Opinion Research Institute from March 21 to 24 this year, shows 3 percent of the respondents said they were ready to leave any time; 7 percent said they were preparing to leave; 14 percent plan to leave but have not begun preparations.

Among the causes of permanent departure from Hong Kong, 35 percent of respondents emphasized that “deterioration of personal freedom and personal safety” would prompt them to leave; 16 percent said that “the prospects for their family members” was the main consideration; 16 percent said political changes in the environment; and 12 percent for personal living standards.


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Anne Zhang is a writer for The Epoch Times with a focus on China-related topics. She began writing for the Chinese-language edition in 2014.