Hongkongers are the least likely in Asia to take action to upskill and increase their attractiveness to negotiate for a higher pay. This is despite 73% of respondents in Hong Kong SAR deeming compensation and benefits as the most important consideration driving their career choices.

Due to the rising cost of living, job seekers in Hong Kong SAR are not likely to settle for jobs with a lower salary than what they are currently drawing.

Randstad - the world’s leading human resources solutions agency - today released the results of their H2 2021 Workmonitor survey in Hong Kong SAR. The bi-annual survey highlights the workforce’s latest sentiments and perceptions of the local job market.

hong kong skills assessment
hong kong skills assessment

12% of hong kong employees don’t feel the need to continue  learning and developing in retaining employability

23% of survey respondents said that they do not need skills assessment tests from their employer or the government to find out what skills they are lacking. This is the highest in the region, with Mainland China, Singapore and Malaysia trailing at 6%, 16% and 10% respectively.

The survey also highlighted that 12% of respondents do not feel the need to acquire new skills and develop themselves to retain or increase their employability. In contrast, only 4% of Mainland China respondents echoed the same sentiment.

When asked if they need more training and development to stay relevant in view of the anticipated changes in the job market, 19% of respondents said they do not need it. This is 12 points higher than their Mainland China counterparts, with only 7% of respondents there feeling the same way.

younger generations are the most motivated to upskill

Out of the 77% of respondents who said that they want skills assessment tests to know what skills to focus on to stay employable, those aged between 25 and 34 want them more. It is evident that younger people in Hong Kong SAR are more open to picking up new skills to seek self-improvement.

“I want my employer/government to provide skills assessment tests

so I know what skills I should focus on/obtain to stay employable.”

18 - 24 years old

25 - 34 years old

35 - 44 years old

45 - 54 years old

55 -57 years old






The younger generations will soon assume managerial positions and have another three to four decades of work ahead of them before they can save enough funds to retire. There is hence a stronger urgency amongst our younger workforce to upskill to stay relevant and competitive in the workforce to ensure their continued employability.

the pandemic has resulted in hongkongers feeling a lack of clarity in their career goals

The survey found that 36% of respondents do not have clarity about their personal and professional goals since the start of the pandemic. Ever since the emergence of COVID-19, it has led to many drastic changes in today's work dynamics, where digital transformations have enabled remote and hybrid workplace models to be normalised around the world. However, there is high confidence among respondents in having stable employment for the foreseeable future, as 92% of respondents said that they are not worried about losing their jobs.

lack of professional goals during pandemic
lack of professional goals during pandemic

Many Hongkongers prioritise pursuing jobs that offer a high base salary to match the rising cost of living in Hong Kong SAR. While there is a direct correlation between upskilling to base salary and job titles, most employees may not see it as an effective resolution to their essential and immediate needs and are hence more likely to delay attending training programmes until they need it to get promoted.

Employers should proactively encourage their workforce to upskill so that the company can benefit from having a higher human capital. Furthermore, upskilling your workforce creates new job opportunities for career growth while boosting engagement, retention and employability. This may include upskilling as criteria for promotion or fulfilling a minimum of eight hours of training per year with a course of their choice.

hongkongers know it will be more challenging for them to upskill in the future.

74% of local respondents reported that their skills have remained about as relevant since the pandemic while a further 17% said that their skills have become more relevant. Even though Hongkongers are not pressured to upskill immediately, 7 in 10 respondents recognised that it is getting increasingly difficult to decide what skills they should develop as the world of work changes.

what skills to acquire for the future of work
what skills to acquire for the future of work

Not knowing what type of skills to acquire that could help boost their careers could further add on to the inertia to upskill. Of course, no one wants to channel their time and energy on something that might not be beneficial in the long run. Hence, identifying relevant new skills to acquire would be essential to one’s career growth potential.

However, employers have the opportunity to provide more direct and detailed guidance about what skills their staff lack in and what training programmes they should sign up for. Companies that don’t invest enough in developing their workforce will not be able to catch up with the digitalisation transformation and technological advancements to stay competitive.

about randstad workmonitor

The Randstad 2H 2021 Workmonitor survey was conducted in September 2021 across 34 markets around the world with a minimum of 800 respondents in each market.

Randstad conducts the Workmonitor survey twice a year to discover the changes in candidates’ expectations and challenges to help organisations like yours to develop a talent attraction and an effective employee engagement strategy that works.

download the latest randstad workmonitor survey report.

Besides conducting regular surveys to study workforce trends, our recruitment consultants also conduct market research and mapping exercises to help employers keep up with workforce trends and strengthen their employer brand. Connect with us for specialised talent recruitment services or to strengthen your employer brand.

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