The number of Hong Kong people aged 65 and above will surge from the current 1.0 million to 2.6 million in 2041. As the territory’s population ages, the pool of working age people aged 15 to 64 will dwindle, according to research by the Hong Kong Government.
According to recruiting experts Hays, Hong Kong faces a unique challenge. An ageing workforce and delayed retirement means older workers are staying longer in highly skilled jobs. But is there a risk to the talent pipeline? Do ageing workforces restrict access to young talent entering highly skilled jobs?
Hays says Hong Kong must find a way to balance its ageing workforce with the continued development of new entrants to the labor market if it is to remain competitive long-term.
“Given the impending shrinking of the workforce, it makes sense to retain mature age workers for as long as possible," says Dean Stallard, Regional Director of Hays in Hong Kong. “But we must not do so at the expense of training and developing new entrants to the labor market."
Stallard notes that in order to maintain its competitive edge Hong Kong needs to ensure the country has a future pipeline of talent who have the skills and experience necessary to replace its ageing workforce when they do eventually retire. Otherwise there will be a skills vacuum that will take many years and a huge amount of investment to fill.
“That’s why employers have to strike the right balance between retaining highly-valued, well educated and experienced older workers, and recruiting and developing the next generation of employees,” says Stallard.
Ultimately, Hays suggest that the focus should be on the recruitment, development and training of staff at all levels and of all ages.
“The ongoing training and development of competent people – of all ages – is essential to the future success of businesses. After all, organizations need to ensure their workforce continues to evolve to changing market conditions. And when someone does decide to retire, they need to have suitably trained and experienced professionals to replace them.”