HR & EDUCATION | Staff Reporter, Hong Kong

Automation threatens 56% of the Hong Kong workforce

Fears over automation putting jobs at risk remains prominent amongst Hong Kongers.

More than half of Hong Kong’s workforce sees automation as a threat to their job security, PwC has found in its Hopes & Fears 2021 report.

Around 56% of workers in Hong Kong who worry over automation’s threat to their jobs, higher than 51% in China and nearly as high as the 60% recorded globally.

PwC said this concern was prominent in Hong Kong as automation of products and services had already been rapidly adopted in financial services, one of the largest industries in the city.

“It is the responsibility of employers to redeploy existing talent to new roles that have been displaced by automation,” Johnny Yu, Mainlan China and Hong Kong People Organisation Leader, PwC China said.

“Companies should offer upskilling opportunities to close the digital skills gap in order to create a sustainable workforce equipped with the skills to fully particulate in a post-COVID digital world.”

The report also found that 41% believe jobs will be made obsolete in the next five years due to technology.

Further, about 44% of employers reported a much higher confidence amongst workers over the future of work; whilst about 39% saw a less optimistic outlook on long-term stable employment.

Despite this fear and perception, 66% are confident to learn new skills or completely retrain to adapt to technology and 55% are willing to learn, but are hindered by the lack of technology devices or infrastructure.

“Remote working has forced people to learn new skills and has positively led to people taking on more ownership of one’s learning and career development, given the majority in Hong Kong want to retrain and learn new skills,” Yu said.

“Yet, companies have a shared responsibility to equip employees with digital skills to response to shifts in business demand and bridge the skills gap.”

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