Bloomberg News

Hong Kong Workers May Need to Retire Later on Population

May 30, 2012

Hong Kong workers may need to retire later and universities should admit more overseas students as the city’s workforce contracts after 2020, the government said in a report.

The government should review whether facilities for expatriate workers such as international school places are sufficient, according to the report released by the Steering Committee on Population Policy yesterday. Local women should be encouraged to give birth, the task force said.

A failure to reverse the potential decline in the size of the workforce will limit future economic growth, according to the report. Hong Kong, a special administrative region of China that runs its own domestic policy, faces competition from Asian cities including Tokyo and Singapore in attracting skilled workers and executives.

The possible decline in the working population may “reduce the standard of living, weaken competitiveness and undermine the economic vitality of Hong Kong society,” the working group said in the report.

Hong Kong’s workforce will shrink to 3.49 million in 2029 from a projected 3.58 million in 2020, according to the report. The aging population will exert an increasing burden on workers, the committee said.

In a survey of American Chamber of Commerce members in May 2011, 63 percent said some executives are driven away by the lack of student places.

To contact the reporter on this story: Mark Lee in Hong Kong at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Tighe at;

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