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Hong Kong Construction 2015 Outlook

2014 was a prosperous year for construction in Hong Kong; this was highlighted by the governments’ capital works expenditure which was at around HK$70 billion for 2013-2014. This follows a previous decade where spending was only around HK$20 billion per year. So let’s take a look back at the year gone and the outlook for the year ahead in Hong Kong.

Hong Kong is well known for its high profile, technically complex and large scale construction projects. 2014 saw the substantial completion of some of these projects along with the ongoing construction of many others. Some of the notable projects include the new Kai Tak Cruise Terminal, the Express Rail Link to China, the Hong Kong Macau Bridge and the West Kowloon Cultural District development. These projects have also been joined by more recent large scale project awards in 2014 such as the Tuen Mun-Chek Lap Kok Link along with over 8 new major contract awards as part of the latest Shatin to Central Link MTRC extension project. These new projects combined with the substantial number of existing projects have driven a buoyant jobs market full of excellent opportunities for construction professionals from Engineering and Quantity Surveying backgrounds.

Demand for infrastructure and civil projects will be high in 2015, and the number of high profile projects has increased noticeably leading to a somewhat of a resurgence of the construction industry in Hong Kong. With a strong market and heavy project work load in 2015, the Hong Kong construction industry still faces the ever present issue of access to skilled workers. Shortage in suitable qualified construction professionals combined with an ageing workforce will be one of the main problems faced by contractors and engineering companies working on this new wave of construction projects. We have seen this issue develop over the past few years from a relatively low impact issue to a major problem that needs to be addressed when completing any major scale project. The job market in Hong Kong is somewhat saturated with a relatively high churn rate combined with a limited number of suitably qualified local Cantonese professionals.   There is also still reluctance in the market to readily employ expat workers which has led to a very competitive jobs market where demand outstrips supply.

One of the key drivers of the construction market in Hong Kong over the past decade has been the development of new and existing MTR rail lines. The most recent of which is the Shatin to Central Link – a 17km railway connecting several of the existing lines and incorporating the fourth cross harbor tunnel in Hong Kong. Several of the contracts for this project have been awarded and are well underway, however there are still sections of major works which are due to be awarded in Q1 – one of which includes the high value contract to construct the cross harbor tunnels. Contrasting this new project the recent opening of the West Island Line is the first completion of one of the five major extension projects started back in 2010, and indicates a clear move forward in the development of transport infrastructure in Hong Kong. With four major projects still under construction 2015 will be another busy year for MTR project in Hong Kong with lots of challenges ahead for construction professional involved in these projects.

All in all 2015 looks set to be another productive year for construction in Hong Kong with some challenging opportunities available for job seekers. We are always keen to speak with qualified Quantity Surveying and Engineering professionals, and we have a large selection of job opportunities we’d be happy to discuss with you. If you’re interested in new Hong Kong job opportunities or would like more information about the positions available please get in contact.

Tim Cole
Maxim Recruitment
Hong Kong & Asia Region

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