Research from Robert Half has studied the impact technology leaders expect he Hong Kong government’s Smart City initiatives will have on the sector. According to the research, almost half (45 per cent) of Hong Kong CIOs believe Smart City initiatives, which aim to use innovation and technology to enhance city management and improve people’s livelihood, will lead to increased job opportunities for IT workers, and more than one in five (21 per cent) think it will lead to an increase in average salaries for IT professionals.
When asked about the potential impact of Smart City initiatives on the IT market, job opportunities are expected to increase foremost within SMEs, with 54 per cent of CIOs in small and medium-sized companies anticipating a surge in jobs, compared to 28 per cent of CIOs within large companies. However, almost one in three (32 per cent) CIOs in large organisations believe average salaries for IT workers will increase as a result of the government initiatives, as opposed to 16 per cent of CIOs in SMEs.
Still considering the potential impacts, more than one in 10 (12 per cent) CIOs say the Smart City initiatives will increase competition for top IT talent. Just under one in 10 (8 per cent) believe it will result in a greater influx of skilled IT candidates into the area and merely 4 per cent think it will lead to more government investment in IT education leading to more local IT candidates. A further 4 per cent say the government initiatives hasn’t had an impact yet.
“The government’s ‘Smart Hong Kong’ initiatives are expected to further promote Hong Kong as a globally recognised innovation hub,” said Adam Johnston, managing director at Robert Half Hong Kong. “By further implementing such projects, more jobs are anticipated to be created for IT professionals in the city, while positioning Hong Kong as a global magnet for international IT workers looking to work within a city-wide innovation project.
“Building a better connected and efficient city driven by the latest technology will also create strong demand in the local IT talent market,” he continues. “As a result of the supply/demand imbalance within the IT employment market, salaries for IT talent will serve as a primary incentive with companies willing to increase starting pay to secure top technology talent. Job opportunities are expected to expand particularly within SMEs, which isn’t surprising given disruptive technologies and creative ideas are typically developed within technology start-ups.”
However, despite the ambitious goals of its Smart City initiatives, Hong Kong is currently experiencing a shortage of suitably qualified IT talent. According to the overwhelming majority (92 per cent) of Hong Kong CIOs, it is now more challenging to source qualified IT professionals than it was five years ago. More specifically, the key functional areas within IT where it is challenging to source skilled talent are IT security (52 per cent), business transformation (41 per cent) and digitisation (40 per cent).
“As with any initiative, innovative projects will struggle to be implemented without the help of the right people, and Hong Kong employers may find themselves struggling to deliver and grow if they cannot successfully source the right IT talent. Companies need to be proactive in their search for skilled talent, and help promote IT and technology as an attractive career path for future professionals,” concluded Adam Johnston.