Construction industry media is often filled with stories of the construction workforce shortage, and Hong Kong is no exception. A workforce report commissioned by the Hong Kong Construction Industry Council forecasted a shortage of professionals such as civil engineers, quantity surveyors and building surveyors as early as 2019 due to an ageing workforce with fewer new entrants to replace them.
Attracting New Talent
The best way to mitigate the shortfall is to entice students to construction courses and train a new generation of construction professionals. Fortunately, Hong Kong is rapidly becoming an international higher education hub thanks to its high-performing universities. With five top-ranked universities for courses in the Built Environment, Architecture and Civil Engineering, Hong Kong is an attractive option for students.
Research, in particular, is a strong focus for Hong Kong, with the University of Hong Kong (UHK) being a founding member of Universitas 21, an international consortium of leading research universities dedicated to tackling issues of global importance. In fact, the INSEAD Global Innovation Index – which measures research and innovation performance – ranked Hong Kong as 14th of 126 countries in its 2018 report.
What Are Universities Doing?
Typically, universities strive to become known as centres of excellence for research, such as the UHK’s Centre for Innovation in Construction and Infrastructure Development, as a way to build their reputation and interest the best students. Teaming up with industry institutions such as the Hong Kong Institution of Civil Engineers to host joint events for students and members is another popular option.
But these days, in order to attract students Hong Kong universities are having to raise their game to a whole new level and offer experiences that may not have been available in the past. The City University of Hong Kong recently held an international workshop for engineering students, graduates, education staff and entrepreneurs to introduce the Grand Challenges Scholarship Program (GCSP). The GCSP trains students to address the most important engineering challenges in the world, creating engineers who are equipped to tackle global problems.
Investing in capital works programmes to build state-of-the-art facilities is another way to attract students, as they benefit from learning about the most up-to-date construction methods. We are currently working with Hong Kong universities who have several ongoing capital projects, and are in need of:
- Project directors
- Senior managers
- Chief technical officers
- Senior technical officers
- Clerks of works
- Building services inspectors
- Technical officers, and
- Safety officers.
If that sounds like the type of project you would like to be involved in and you have educational, institutional or public facilities experience, and – ideally – Cantonese language skills, please get in touch.
About the Author
Construction Recruitment Director, Hong Kong
I am responsible for the recruitment business in Hong Kong, Asia, and the Middle East. I was a civil engineer and project manager for 15 years before becoming a construction industry recruitment consultant in 2004. I am based in the Hong Kong office and specialise in placing professionals in engineering, project management, planning, HSEQ and risk.
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