Hong Kong's workforce desires digital upskilling

3 May 2021

Hong Kong, 3 May 2021 - PwC’s Hopes & Fears 2021 report in one the largest global surveys of workers, reveals the attitudes of workers on jobs security, reskilling and how the pandemic affects the world of work. The pandemic has accelerated a number of workforce trends, first being a shift to remote working, a strong desire for developing new skills and factors affecting future employability.

  • 41% believe jobs will be made obsolete within the next 5 years

  • 39% are less confident of stable future employment, vs.56% globally

  • 56% worry that automation is a threat to their jobs

  • 61% are confident to learn new skills or completely retrain to adapt to technology

  • 55% willing to learn but are hindered by lack of technology devices or infrastructure

  • Prefer a job that maximise income over making a difference, if forced to choose

People embrace skill development, take responsibility for learning A year into the pandemic has shown that Hong Kong workers can meet the challenges of adapting to new technology, and remote work through learning new skills to operate in virtual teams and deliver their work reliably, remotely and securely with technology tools.

Prolonged periods of remote working drove many workers to improve their digital skills - 61% say they are ‘ready to learn new skills or completely retrain’, but among the 55% willing to learn have been hindered by lack of technology devices or infrastructure. In Mainland China, this desire is more acute – 89% want to learn new skills so they can keep up with changing technology.

The survey found that people are given the opportunities to learn but technology access or infrastructure remains a major hurdle for people in Hong Kong to improve their skills and future job prospects. Approximately 36% in Hong Kong said they started the pandemic without adequate digital skills, but upskilling was experienced during the pandemic - 51% said their digital skills had improved. “The pandemic has seen companies make a significant shift toward skill-building and redeploying talent in an organisation to enable business transformation goals,” said Edmund Lee, PwC Hong Kong Consulting Leader.

Johnny Yu, PwC Mainland China and Hong Kong People and Organisation Consulting Leader, comments: “This optimism bodes well for business leaders looking to building new skills and agility. “Remote working has forced people to learn new skills and has positively led to people taking on more ownership of one’s learning and career development, given the majority in Hong Kong want to retrain and learn new skills. Yet, companies have a shared responsibility to equip employees with digital skills to response to shifts in business demand and to bridge the skills gap.

You can find more details in the full report here