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LCQ14: Manpower situation of selected industries
     Following is a question by the Hon Ho Kai-ming and a written reply by the Secretary for Labour and Welfare, Dr Law Chi-kwong, in the Legislative Council today (April 11):


     Will the Government inform this Council of the manpower situation of the construction, catering, aviation, and retail industries as well as the nursing and the electrical and mechanical trades:

(1) In respect of each industry/trade, the respective numbers of (i) people employed, (ii) job seekers, (iii) people dismissed or made redundant, and (iv) people who resigned, in each year since 2016, and the respective percentages of such numbers in the number of jobs in the industry/trade, broken down by the age groups set out in the table below (set out in tables of the same format as the table below);

     Industry: __________ Year: __________
Age group Number of (i)
Number of (ii)
Number of (iii)
Number of (iv)
60 or above        

(2) In respect of each industry/trade, the yearly average of (i) the monthly percentages of the number of vacancies in the number of jobs, (ii) the monthly unemployment rates, (iii) the median monthly wages, and (iv) the median weekly working hours, in each year since 2016; and

(3) Whether it has formulated new measures to attract members of the public to join those industries/trades and to reduce their manpower wastage rate?



     Having consulted the relevant bureaux, our consolidated response to the question raised by the Member is set out below:

(1) and (2) Based on the information from the Census and Statistics Department (C&SD), the relevant statistics relating to the construction, food and beverage services, air transport services, retail and residential care industries are listed at Annex I and Annex II respectively. C&SD does not compile relevant statistics for the electrical and mechanical (E&M) services industry. The relevant figures for registered midwives, enrolled nurses and registered nurses are set out in Annex III.

(3) Regarding the construction industry, according to the Development Bureau, the Government has been working closely with the Construction Industry Council (CIC) and industry stakeholders to attract new blood and reduce manpower wastage through the following host of multi-pronged measures:
  • CIC is committed to enhancing workers' training. In the past three years, it has trained over 15 000 skilled workers, and the number of trainees is on the increase each year. In 2017 alone, some 6 000 trainees have completed training, representing a 16 per cent increase compared to about 5 200 trainees completing training in 2016;
  • Another important measure is to enhance in-service skills training for workers. In August 2017, to encourage contractors and their subcontractors to do so, the Government introduced a new technical score on workers' training in its tender evaluation for public works contracts. The Government and CIC have also jointly launched the "Advanced Construction Manpower Training Scheme" (ACMTS), through which over 500 semi-skilled workers have become skilled workers. In January 2018, further enhancements were introduced for ACMTS (e.g. raising the bonus for trainees obtaining the skilled worker certification) to attract more semi-skilled workers to join the scheme;
  • CIC has strived to attract new blood and train high-calibre construction practitioners. In 2018, CIC established the Hong Kong Institute of Construction (HKIC), offering programmes recognised under the Qualifications Framework (QF) and a clear career progression path to people, especially youngsters, who are interested in joining the industry. Besides, to arouse the interest of secondary school students in the construction industry, CIC has formed the STEM Alliance to strengthen the network between secondary schools and the industry; and in December 2017, organised a three-day taster programme for the ethnic minorities; and
  • The Government has been working with CIC to promote the industry and attract newcomers through various channels, such as announcements in the public interest on television and radio. CIC has also established the Construction Innovation and Technology Application Centre to nurture an innovative culture among practitioners to enhance professionalism and project a positive image for the construction industry. The Government is planning to establish the $1 billion Construction Innovation and Technology Fund, the primary objectives of which are to encourage wider adoption of innovative construction methods and new technologies, and to prepare practitioners and students of construction-related disciplines to embrace new technologies, with a view to promoting productivity, raising built quality, improving site safety and enhancing environmental performance. The use of advanced technologies will also help enhance the professional image of the construction industry and attract new blood.

     As stated by the Education Bureau, the Government has adopted the following measures to facilitate various industries to foster their manpower development:
  • The Government has assisted the catering industry, E&M services industry, retail industry and elderly care service industry in setting up Industry Training Advisory Committees (ITACs) under QF. In addition to drawing up Specification of Competency Standards for the respective industries, ITACs also implement the Recognition of Prior Learning mechanism for the industries and map out clear progression pathways to encourage practitioners to enhance their competitiveness through continuing education. At the same time, ITACs strive to attract new blood and nurture the next generation of practitioners by providing senior secondary students, teachers, etc. with the latest information about the industries through various channels. If stakeholders in other industries have reached consensus on implementing QF in the relevant industries in order to promote manpower development, the Government is willing to explore the possibility of setting up ITACs with the relevant industries; and
  • As for vocational and professional education and training (VPET), the Vocational Training Council (VTC) has been dedicated in providing training and education for nurturing talents to meet the needs of local industries. VTC offers different levels of pre-employment programmes covering various industries including catering, aviation, retail, healthcare, construction and E&M engineering industries, etc. In order to attract more young people to join specific industries with a keen demand for labour, e.g. the retail industry, E&M industry and construction industry, VTC has launched the Earn & Learn Pilot Scheme for the Retail Industry and the Pilot Training and Support Scheme in 2014, which integrate structured classroom learning with on-the-job training, providing young people with a clear career progression pathway. Furthermore, in order to encourage continuing education, the Government has funded the implementation of a pilot scheme to provide tuition fee subsidy for three cohorts of students admitted to designated professional part-time programmes offered by VTC starting from the 2016/17 academic year. The scheme encourages working adults to pursue higher qualifications which help enhance their upward mobility.

     According to the Commerce and Economic Development Bureau, the Government will also continue to take forward the promotion campaign for the retail industry in collaboration with the trade with a view to attracting more new blood.

     With respect to the aviation industry, as advised by the Transport and Housing Bureau, to strengthen Hong Kong as a major aviation hub, the Government has attached great importance to the development and manpower training of the industry and implemented the following measures to attract and retain talents:
  • Through encouraging the provision of various types of vocational education and training programmes, as well as the establishment of Maritime and Aviation Training Fund, the Government supports manpower training of the aviation industry and encourages young people to join the industry after graduation. The Fund aims to build up in due course a vibrant, diversified and competitive pool of professionals and technical personnel to support the sustainable development of the airport and the aviation industry as a whole;
  • The Airport Authority Hong Kong (AA) also set up the Hong Kong International Aviation Academy (the Academy) in 2016 to train local and regional air transport management talents. The first batch of courses of the Academy was rolled out in April 2017. The Academy offers a wide range of aviation-related programmes, including beginners programmes targeting those who wish to join or have newly joined the aviation industry and young people. It also provides free beginners programmes for industry newcomers. The Academy also partners with local educational and vocational training institutions, AA's business partners and other organisations to offer a wide range of courses, including summer youth and internship programmes;
  • AA has always been concerned about the needs of airport staff and is committed to improving the working environment. In addition to providing staff canteens and 24-hour staff rest rooms, AA also understands the transportation problems faced by airport staff due to their special working hours. To this end, back in 2012, AA, together with the Transport Department, public transport operators and most of the business partners in the aviation industry at the airport, set up the Airport Transport Liaison Group to review and implement measures from time to time to improve the transportation arrangements of airport staff. In addition, to foster a family-friendly work environment for the airport community, AA set up the Airport Preschool in 2017, providing care and early education services for children of airport staff under the age of three; and
  • AA will continue to actively communicate with various stakeholders in the airport community and implement various measures to improve the working environment of the airport with a view to retaining talents in the aviation industry to support the future development of the airport.

     As for the care industry, the Labour and Welfare Bureau has implemented a number of measures to enhance the supply of front-line care staff and improve their work prospects:
  • As set out in the Policy Agenda of "The Chief Executive's 2017 Policy Address", the Social Welfare Department (SWD) will provide additional resources for service units of subsidised elderly services, rehabilitation services as well as family and child welfare services to increase the salaries of personal care workers, home helpers and ward attendants (i.e. the salaries of these posts will be increased by two pay points in the current calculation of the subsidy for salaries), thereby enabling these service units to recruit and retain staff more effectively. In addition, SWD will launch a five-year scheme to provide full subsidies for home managers, health workers and care workers of all residential care homes for the elderly and residential care homes for persons with disabilities in the territory to enrol in QF-based training courses, so as to enhance their work prospects and attract more people to join the sector; and
  • In 2018-19, the Employees Retraining Board (ERB) will continue to offer courses on healthcare services, engage more employers to participate in the "First-Hire-Then-Train" Pilot Programme, establish career ladder for care workers by developing recognised healthcare services courses, and enhance the promotion of relevant courses. Moreover, ERB will gradually develop English training materials for courses on healthcare services intended for general public to facilitate the ethnic minorities who can speak and comprehend Cantonese to take these courses and land on relevant jobs.

     As stated by the Food and Health Bureau, in light of the general manpower shortage of healthcare professionals in Hong Kong, the Government has taken the following measures to attract and retain talents:
  • The Government is discussing with the University Grants Committee to further increase the number of publicly-funded training places for healthcare professionals (including nurses) in the 2019/20-2021/22 triennium. The Government will also subsidise 765 students studying in qualified self-financing nursing degree programmes under the Study Subsidy Scheme for Designated Professions/Sectors in the 2018-19 academic year;
  • The Hospital Authority (HA) has put in place various measures to attract and retain healthcare professionals, which include enhancing training opportunities by offering corporate scholarships for overseas training, strengthening manpower support, recruitment of additional supporting staff and re-engineering work processes. HA will continue central recruitment of full-time and part-time clinical staff to further increase manpower strength and improve staff retention. A special retired and rehire scheme to re-employ suitable serving healthcare staff upon their retirement has also been implemented since 2015-16 to retain suitable expertise for training and knowledge transfer, and to help alleviate manpower shortage; and
  • For the nursing grade, HA has enhanced career advancement opportunities of experienced nurses and provided training to registered nursing students and enrolled nursing students at HA's nursing schools. To further boost staff morale and retain staff, HA restores the annual increment mechanism for all serving employees who have joined HA on or after June 15, 2002, and new recruits, all with effect from April 1, 2018. HA will continue to implement various measures to retain staff in the nursing grades in 2018-19, and review the effectiveness of the above initiatives and explore further enhancement measures to attract and retain staff.

     Regarding the E&M trade, in accordance with the Electrical and Mechanical Services Department, in view of the high demand for E&M technicians in recent years, it liaised with the trade to form the Hong Kong E&M Trade Promotion Working Group (WG) (note) in late 2012 to promote the E&M trade and develop E&M talents. The WG has been organising exhibitions, career expos, road shows and other promotional activities etc, with the aim of attracting more new blood to the E&M trade.

Note: WG has been formed by 19 trade organisations including government departments, public organisations, public utilities, trade associations and unions.
Ends/Wednesday, April 11, 2018
Issued at HKT 15:55
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