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5 key things to know about Hong Kong’s workforce

5 key things to know about Hong Kong’s workforce

In a world where it sometimes feels like even your smallest decisions at work have to be backed up by at least 17 spreadsheets and a cost-benefit analysis, the word “report” may not conjure up any happy thoughts.

As such, we understand you may not want to spend your Friday sifting through 400+ pages of the latest Census and Statistics Department’s annual “Women and Men in Hong Kong – Key Statistics” report, just to find out if there’s anything good in there.

Which is why we’ve gone ahead and done it for you. Below are the five most relevant takeaways about Hong Kong’s workforce.

1. Labour participation is down

The overall labour force participation rate decreased from 65.1% in 1986 to 61.1% in 2016. While more women started working, 54.8% in 2016 versus 48.9% in 1986, the labour force participation rate for men dropped significantly from 80.5% in 1986 to 68.6% in 2016. Although women are catching up, the gender gap remains.

2. More women are climbing the ranks

The proportion of female employed persons working as managers and administrators, professionals and associate professionals increased substantially from 19.6% in 1993 to 32.4% in 2016. While the percentage is still smaller than that for male workers (45.4%), more and more women are climbing the ranks to higher positions.

About half of female employed persons work as clerical support workers and workers in elementary occupations.

3. Most people don’t work 50-hour weeks

While Hong Kong is notorious for its 50-hour working weeks, for most of the workforce, this isn’t a reality. In 2016, the median hours of work were 44 hours and 45 hours in a 7- day period for female and male employed persons respectively .

4. Some people prefer unemployment over a job they don’t enjoy

In 2016, 41.7 % of female unemployed persons with a previous job left their last job because they were dissatisfied at work. For male unemployed persons, the percentage was only slightly lower at 38.5%.

Women consistently had a lower overall unemployment rate than men during 1986 to 2016. In 2016, the unemployment rate for women was 3.1%, while for men it was 3.7%. In 2016, the median duration of unemployment for both men and women was 72 days.

5. The gender wage gap remains

The median monthly employment earnings of female employed persons was HK$12,000 in 2016 while that for males was HK$18,000. The difference could be attributed to a host of factors including the differences between female and male employed persons in respect of industrial and occupational distributions, hours of work, educa tional attainment, working experience and nature of work.

The median hourly wage of male employees was higher than that of their female counterparts across all occupational groups except for clerical support workers.

This article was first published in Human Resources and is reproduced with permission. Original article can be found at