Artificial Intelligence Set to Reshape Hong Kong’s Workforce

New research from Amazon Web Services (AWS) suggests Hong Kong-based workers with artificial intelligence (AI) skills and expertise could see significant salary hikes once AI is fully harnessed.
To better understand emerging AI usage trends and skill needs in Hong Kong workplaces, AWS commissioned Access Partnership to conduct a regional study, Accelerating AI Skills: Preparing the Hong Kong Workforce for Jobs of the Future. Access surveyed 1,600 people and 500 organisations.
It found that hiring AI-skilled talent is a priority for 70% of Hong Kong employers but 73% of them struggle to find the AI talent they need, highlighting a looming AI skills gap in the city.
On top of salary increases of up to 28%, the research also found that the productivity payoff from AI could be immense for Hong Kong. Surveyed employers believe that AI can boost their organizations’ productivity by 40%, while workers believe AI could raise their efficiency by as much as 47%.
The research also found that employers are also placing greater emphasis on soft skills for employees to possess by 2028. The survey results show that employers find soft skills like critical thinking (56%) and creative thinking (52%) more important than technical skills like coding (51%).
The speed of AI transformation in Hong Kong is remarkable. A total of 84% of employers surveyed used AI-powered tools across their organization in 2023, and this will increase to 94% of all organizations by 2028.
Generative AI has captured the attention of the general public in the past year, and this technology is already transforming workplaces in Hong Kong. The research found that 94% of surveyed employers and 91% of surveyed workers expect to use generative AI tools on the job within the next five years.
“The rise of generative AI presents an unparalleled opportunity for Hong Kong businesses to drive innovation, enhance productivity, and stay ahead of the curve,” said Hong Kong AWS MD Robert Wang. “However, nurturing an AI-skilled workforce is essential to unlocking the full potential of these technologies.”
Delving into key industries in Hong Kong, the research shows workers in the financial services sector (71%), which remains one of the city’s most important economic pillars and accounts for around one-fourth of the city’s GDP, are the most positive about the impact of AI on their careers and organizations, compared to the manufacturing (69%), ICT (65%), and wholesale and retail trade sectors (57%).
A total of 80% of Hong Kong workers indicated an interest in developing AI skills to accelerate their careers, and this interest transcends generations and genders. While around seven in ten Gen-Z (71%), Millennials (73%), and Gen-X (70%) workers want to acquire AI skills, close to half (48%) of baby boomers—a demographic usually contemplating retirement—say they would enroll in an AI upskilling course if it was offered.
However, the research also reveals a looming AI skills gap that must be bridged to ensure the city is well-positioned to unlock the full productivity benefits of AI. Hiring AI-skilled talent is a priority for 70% of employers in Hong Kong, of which 73% find it challenging to find the AI talent they need.
Of the surveyed employers, 76% said they lack the knowledge to implement an AI workforce training program. They also lack the financial resources to provide employees with AI training (70%), and time for employees to pursue AI training outside of core work responsibilities (69%). In addition, 65% of employees cited a lack of knowledge of the AI skills training programs available as a top barrier.

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