‘Universities need to generate innotech talent’

The Hong Kong Productivity Council said on Monday technology companies are eager to manufacture more of their products in the SAR, but they need support to help nurture talent.

Researchers blamed a “talent mismatch” under a university education system that they say may not be able to meet the needs of a future economy.

In a study conducted by the council and the University of Hong Kong Business School, only 28 percent of 184 enterprises in the food, health and green technology sectors interviewed between July and September said they’re confident of finding suitable talent in the innovative technology field in the next year or two.

“The world is changing so rapidly that the demand for certain types of workers, especially in advanced manufacturing, may not be the kind of undergraduate students that we have been training or educating,” HKU Business School’s Professor of Economics Tang Heiwai told RTHK’s Kelly Yu.

“There’s room to think about vocational training and what else can be done on the relatively less academic side to make sure that our future generation will have the skills and vision to contribute to their own economies.”

More than half of the firms interviewed in the study said they had plans to expand existing local production lines or move them to the SAR from the mainland or elsewhere, but many of them said the lack of space here was holding them back.

But Edmond Lai, chief digital officer of the Hong Kong Productivity Council, pointed out that more than 30 percent of the respondents think less than 10,000 square feet is enough for factories.

He said that won’t be difficult to meet with existing industrial facilities and the new Advanced Manufacturing Centre, which is due for completion next year.

“There were some misconceptions in the past. People would think that Hong Kong as an expensive city, it’s difficult to attract production facilities here. And they think that production needs a lot of space,” he said.