HR & EDUCATION | Staff Reporter, Hong Kong

Only 2% of senior executives have a concrete plan to address skill shortages: survey

Information security, big data analytics and digital product development were cited as the most critical roles.

Only 2% of Hong Kong business leaders have a formal forecast for the skilled talent they need to deliver their business strategies that extend through to 2030, according to the latest talent shift study by organisational consultancy firm Korn Ferry.

The study, which surveyed 1,550 business leaders in multimillion-dollar organisations across 19 countries, found that leaders in Hong Kong were aware that reduced talent supply may escalate their bottom-line costs, with 46% of respondents agreeing that skilled talent shortages may limit their growth.

“Out of the 20 economies in our initial research, Hong Kong is predicted to be hardest hit by talent shortages as a percentage of its economy,” May Knight, president for Korn Ferry Advisory Asia Pacific, said in a statement. “Though many companies in Hong Kong are already sourcing skilled talent internationally, it is not a sustainable solution in the long run. Hence, it is vital for companies to continually evolve their talent management strategies to maintain a strong talent pipeline.”

Also read: Hong Kong bears weight of growing private sector vacancies in September

Looking ahead, organisations in Hong Kong are predicting that digital skills will be highly relevant to their success. The top five roles leaders view as critical are information security, digital analytics, big data analytics, digital product development and digital marketing.

Although Hong Kong leaders are anticipating which roles will be most impactful in the future of work, 74% said they find it easier to create action plans around technology and other tangible assets, citing a perception that companies underestimate talent shortages as an organisational risk and short leadership tenures as contributing factors.

The report found that C-suite executives in Hong Kong said they would mitigate talent shortages by paying a salary premium to attract skilled talent, investing in their employer value proposition, reconsidering where they focus their organization’s growth strategy, investment, and geographic footprint, as well as increasing their use of outsourcing and offshoring, and implementing mass retraining throughout their workforce.

“Even as leaders in Hong Kong bet on tech, they also recognise that its ability to drive business will rely on human skills, with 78% of them agreeing that technology itself will create the need for more highly-skilled jobs,” Korn Ferry said. 

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