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Does Hong Kong Need to Import Skilled Quantity Surveyors & Construction Workers?

The Hong Kong Construction Industry needs Cost and Quantity Surveyor talent for current and future major infrastructure projects, Secretary for Development Bureau Paul Chan Mo-Po revealed earlier this year. According to Paul, these projects face a shortfall of local skilled workers, therefore, imported skilled labour would be needed to fill nearly 20,000 vacancies across the construction industry in the near future. Unfilled construction vacancies surged 74% to 1,025 in June. Hong Kong Chief Executive Leung Chun-Ying said we would need more foreign labour to fill the shortage. 

Some surveying firms are now hiring people such as social-science graduates, who have not studied surveying at all, and giving them on-the-job training, said by Dr Daniel Ho Chi-Wing, associate professor in the University of Hong Kong’s Real Estate and Construction Department. "The demand is now huge. I haven't seen such huge demand since the peak in the 1990s." he added. According to Dr. Ho, construction new graduates received monthly salaries of HK$16,000 two years ago, and now HK$19,000 or more. 

The Mass Transit Railways Cooperation (MTRC) alone needs 18,000 workers for their five on-going projects in Hong Kong. "A number of mega projects, including railways, are currently under way in Hong Kong, and the prevailing labour shortage is common to the construction industry," and "The corporation has been working with the government and the industry to address the labour shortage issue." an MTR spokesman said.

Locals First?
Chow Luen-Kiu, Chairman of Hong Kong Construction Industry Employees General Union claimed that it was inevitable to import manpower at this stage. This was simply due construction industry is considered a hard career for Hong Kongers while they traditionally intend to work for finance industry. Therefore, CIC has rolled out different plans to attract students, job-changers, ethnic minorities and new migrants to join the industry, especially for Cost and QS sector.  Another reason is the absence of professional training, such as NEC training. He said “We do not object to importing labours, but no one should bypass the existing system.”

The Construction Industry Council (CIC) has spent HKD$350 million training for about 9,000 fresh graduates alone last year. To imply with the government policy, construction industry needs to ensure locals labour gets hired and paid at reasonable range before importing overseas workers. However, it certainly takes some times to train up and guide new graduates to develop the necessary skills. 

Undoubtedly, the construction industry looks bright now and in the coming years. There are a lot of job opportunities for locals as well as overseas job-seeker. If you are a quantity surveyor or engineer and would like to achieve the best career and salary opportunities in Hong Kong please get in touch.


Natalie Law
Recruitment Consultant
Maxim Recruitment
Hong Kong & Asia Region 


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