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LCQ13: Demand for and supply of manpower in the construction industry
     Following is a question by the Hon Ngan Man-yu and a written reply by the Secretary for Development, Ms Bernadette Linn, in the Legislative Council today (November 2):
     The Financial Secretary indicated last year that the annual capital works expenditure would exceed $100 billion in the next few years, and the annual total construction volume would also increase to around $300 billion. On the other hand, some members of the construction industry anticipate that problems such as manpower shortage, ageing workers, skills mismatch with trades and a succession gap of talents in the industry will become increasingly acute. Regarding the demand for and supply of manpower in the construction industry, will the Government inform this Council:
(1) whether it has projected the demand for and supply of as well as the shortfall of manpower in the construction industry in each of the coming five years;
(2) whether it has projected the demand for and supply of as well as the shortfall of manpower in each of the trades on the "list of shortage trades" in each of the coming five years;
(3) given that the Financial Secretary indicated in the 2022-23 Budget an allocation of $1 billion to the Construction Industry Council to support the manpower training work, of the implementation situation of the relevant training work; and
(4) whether it will consider formulating key performance indicators for the planning work for manpower in the construction industry, so as to ensure that there will not be a significant discrepancy between the demand for and supply of manpower in the construction industry, thereby avoiding the occurrence of extreme circumstances such as cost overruns and delays of projects resulting from manpower shortage, and a rise in the unemployment rate due to manpower surplus?
     The current-term Government will work in full swing towards enhancing quantity, speed, efficiency and quality to ensure an adequate supply of land, not for addressing the housing needs alone, but also improving the quality of life and enhancing the impetus for growth in Hong Kong. The Government's annual expenditure on capital works will exceed $100 billion in the next few years. Taking together the projects to be implemented in both public and private sectors, the annual total construction volume will reach the level of $300 billion, which will provide a promising development prospect for the industry.
     We adopt a multi-pronged approach in seizing the opportunities ahead. Measures include enhancing training and recruitment, and promoting the application of advanced construction techniques and the latest science and technology in the industry to uplift the overall productivity.
     Regarding the four parts of the question raised by the Hon Ngan Man-yu, I reply as follows:
(1), (2) and (4) The Construction Industry Council (CIC) regularly conducts forecasts on manpower demand of the construction industry, including the demand of various trades, and maintains liaison with the industry to understand its needs. Apart from the provision of training, the CIC also endeavours to strengthen manpower training in collaboration with the industry and various training institutions, and promote the professional image and development opportunities of the industry as well as its contribution to the building of our community, with the view to attracting new entrants to the industry. The CIC is updating its manpower forecast, which is expected to be completed by the end of this year. Making reference to the forecast results and the results brought about by the various measures for enhancing manpower supply and uplifting productivity, the Government will review the overall manpower needs with a view to achieving the target of presenting the manpower assessment and the recommendations for manpower planning of the construction sector in mid-2023.
(3) The Government allocated $1 billion to the CIC this year for further enhancing its manpower development initiatives and increasing training places and the amount of allowance in the coming six years starting this year. The initiatives cover three main areas:
     Firstly, training places and allowances will be increased for training new entrants to become semi-skilled workers (intermediate tradesmen);
     Secondly, training places and allowances will be increased for assisting and encouraging trainees who have completed the programmes for intermediate tradesmen and in-service intermediate tradesmen to upskill them to become skilled workers (tradesmen), with a view to uplifting productivity while retaining talent for the industry by providing a progression pathway.
     Regarding the first and second initiatives, the CIC has taken forward the above initiatives since September this year. With these initiatives, it is expected that about 20 000 new entrants will become intermediate tradesmen and about 7 000 intermediate tradesmen with enhanced skills will become tradesmen in the coming six years. The Development Bureau and the CIC will closely monitor the manpower situation of the construction industry and regularly review the relevant training initiatives; and
     Thirdly, the allocated funding will support the CIC to step up its promotional efforts through various channels in order to attract more new entrants to the construction industry and receive training. Relevant measures include introducing the professional image and prospect of development of the industry among members of the public, promoting the progression pathway, providing more internship opportunities for young people and assisting with students' life planning.
Ends/Wednesday, November 2, 2022
Issued at HKT 14:35
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