by Irene Chan
More than half of Hong Kong professionals have considered leaving the city in the near future, a survey conducted by a global recruitment consultancy has found.
The survey, which was conducted by consultancy Robert Walters, found that 52.3 percent of professionals were considering leaving Hong Kong. More than 15 percent of respondents planned to “leave as soon as possible,” while 36.7 percent were considering a move within three to five years.
Among those who expressed an interest in working overseas, 51 percent were millennials aged 27 to 42.
“The desire to work overseas and gain international experience is not new, especially among young people, but it’s concerning to see such a large percentage of Hong Kong professionals considering leaving the city,” John Mullally, managing director at Robert Walters Hong Kong said in a press release issued last Friday.
Mullally also said that Hong Kong employers should ensure they were “doing everything [they] can” to retain talent.
According to the survey, among those considering leaving the city, 96 percent had already taken steps to prepare for work abroad. Forty percent said they had applied for overseas roles, while 27 percent had looked for internal transfer opportunities.
The survey interviewed 107 professionals in Hong Kong across various industries, including tech, finance, and construction.
Mullally said employers should better understand workers’ expectations to retain talent, especially in times of economic uncertainty.
“Moving abroad is not an easy decision,” Mullally said. “If what professionals want is to gain international experience for career growth or broaden their minds, there are employers that can facilitate this.”
Over the past three years, Hong Kong has seen exodus of local families and expats amid strict Covid-19 restrictions and following the establishment of national security law.
According to the 2022 policy address, the local workforce dropped by 140,000 from the second quarter of 2020 to the same period in 2022.
Responding to a lawmaker’s questions last November, Secretary for Labour and Social Welfare Chris Sun, said that most people leaving the local workforce were aged 25 to 39. Associate professionals, service and sales workers, and professionals experienced the greatest losses of manpower.
“One of the major reasons for the decline in local labour force over the past two years is the significant reduction in people inflow caused by the global epidemic,” the labour chief said. At the time, Covid-19 restrictions remained in place.
According to Britain’s Home Office, as of February, some 144,500 people had left Hong Kong and moved to the UK in the two years since London launched a visa route for holders of British National (Overseas) passports (BNO) in the wake of the national security law.
Among the BNO visa holders, 69 percent were educated to degree-level or higher, and 39 percent were professionals, the Home Office revealed in a survey released last February.
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