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Hong Kong IT Manpower

IT Employees (Year 2004 – 2018)

The labour market in the information technology (IT) sector of Hong Kong keeps steady growth in April 2018 with total IT employment rose to 95 780 IT employees (including freelancers), representing an increase of 9.1% over April 2016 (87 794 IT employees) and 54.2% over March 2004 (62 098 IT employees). However, owing to a slight increase in the total labour force, the percentage share of IT employees (including freelancers) in the labour force grew marginally from 2.31% in April 2016 to 2.41% in April 2018.

  March 2004 April 2006 May 2008 May 2010 May 2012 April 2014 April 2016 April 2018
Labour Force* (‘000) 3,495.6 3,550.2 3,654.3 3,644.0 3,796.9 3,861.5 3,807.1 3,982.2
IT Employees 62,098 64,473 66,697 73,378 78,685 82,973 87,794 95,780
  • IT and Communications Services Organisations
26,238 27,438 32,549 34,764 39,466 40,954 44,672 53,273
  • IT Users Organisations
35,860 37,035 34,148 38,614 39,219 42,019 43,122 42,507
Percentage Share of IT Employees in the Labour Force (%) 1.78 1.82 1.83 2.00 2.10 2.15 2.31 2.41

*Source: Census and Statistics Department

 

IT Employees by Job Category (Year 2018)

Of the 95 780 IT employees (including freelancers), 30 333 (31.7%) were in IT / software development, 25 184 (26.3%) in operation services, 8 543 (8.9%) in IT sales & marketing, 8 249 (8.6%) in field support, 6 130 (6.4%) in research and development (IT related), 5 973 (6.2%) in telecommunications and networking, 4 191 (4.4%) in systems programming, 3 944 (4.1%) in IT education and training, and the rest in general IT management, IT security and database.

Job Category Number of IT Employees Percentage of IT Employees
IT/Software Development 30,333 31.7%
Operation Services 25,184 26.3%
IT Sales & Marketing 8,543 8.9%
Field Support 8,249 8.6%
Research and Development (IT related) 6,130 6.4%
Telecommunications & Networking 5,973 6.2%
Systems Programming 4,191 4.4%
IT Education & Training 3,944 4.1%
General IT Management 1,463 1.5%
IT Security 1,118 1.2%
Database 652 0.7%
Total 95,780 100.0%

 

Annual Income Distribution of IT Employees (Year 2006-2018)

The average annual remuneration package of employees reveals that employers continue to offer competitive wages to secure and retain highly-skilled IT professionals. Majority of employers offered an average annual incomeNote from over HK$360,000 to HK$1,080,000 or above for general IT management job, and over HK$100,000 to HK$360,000 for jobs related to telecommunications & networking and operation services. These figures offer insights into hiring trends within the IT sector. As this was not a wage survey, the information obtained was for reference purpose only.
Note: The term “annual income” includes basic salary, bonus/commission, housing allowance/benefit, and other regular allowance.

  Percentage Distribution of Income (%)
Year $100,000 or Below $100,001-$360,000 $360,001-$600,000 $600,001-$1,080,000 $1,080,001 or More
2018 0.2 65.8 22.2 10.1 1.6
2016 0.5 58.1 27.7 11.9 1.8
2014 1.4 60.0 27.1 10.7 0.8
2012 2.2 66.0 25.3 5.5 0.9
2010 8.6 64.8 20.3 5.6 0.7
2008 3.6 68.5 20.4 5.8 1.7
2006 6.9 60.9 22.1 8.3 1.7

Remark: To align with the presentation used in the 2018 Manpower Survey Report, responses to the survey with unspecified income category are excluded and the percentage distributions of income for each specific range for 2006 to 2016 are adjusted accordingly.

 

Preferred Academic Qualifications by Job Category (Year 2018)

The IT industry is one of the most knowledge-intensive sectors and therefore employers generally preferred their IT employees to have job-related experience with tertiary level qualifications for most of the IT jobs. According to the 2018 Manpower Survey, 47% of IT posts were preferred to have first degree or above qualifications and 32% to have sub-degree qualification.

Percentage Distribution of IT Posts (%)
Job Category Postgraduate (Higher Degrees (e.g. Master Degrees) or equiv.) First Degree (First Degree or equiv.) Sub-degree (Associate Degree, Higher Diploma, Professional Diploma, Higher Certificate or equiv.) Senior Secondary (Secondary 4-6, Diploma, HKDSE or equiv.) Junior Secondary (Secondary 1-3 or equiv.) Unspecified Total No. of IT Posts % of IT Posts
IT / Software Development 1% 54% 32% 6% 0% 8% 31,835 32%
Operation Services 1% 17% 27% 35% 3% 18% 25,819 26%
IT Sales & Marketing 1% 37% 29% 19% 1% 12% 8,834 9%
Field Support 0% 17% 27% 44% 2% 10% 8,529 9%
Research and Development (IT Related) 11% 68% 7% 3% 0% 11% 6,358 6%
Telecommunications & Networking 0% 41% 22% 5% 1% 31% 6,126 6%
Systems Programming 0% 49% 43% 1% 0% 7% 4,265 4%
IT Education & Training 7% 81% 9% 0% 0% 3% 3,952 4%
General IT Management 5% 72% 13% 0% 0% 9% 1,478 1%
IT Security 1% 67% 18% 0% 0% 14% 1,154 1%
Database 0% 67% 22% 4% 0% 7% 661 <1%

 

 

Source: “Report on the 2018 Manpower Survey of the Information Technology Sector”, the Innovation and Technology Training Board of the Vocational Training Council (VTC)

 

 

 

Manpower Projection to 2027

 

Information and Communications Sector

Overall Trend

The Information & Communications (I&C) sector consists of three sub-sectors, namely Telecommunication activities, Software publishing and information technology related services, and Miscellaneous activities related to information and communications. Hong Kong has made great strides in driving the development of the Information and communications sector over the years. Our Telecommunications industry is one of the most sophisticated and successful markets in the world. The rolling-out of the fifth generation mobile communications technology (5G) presents new opportunities for Hong Kong to further excel its telecommunication business. The infrastructure works of developing the Lok Ma Chau Loop into the Hong Kong-Shenzhen Innovation and Technology Park as well as the Data Technology Hub at Tseung Kwan O, for instance, will further help shape the future of Hong Kong as a renowned information and communication technology hub and an excellent location for high-end data centres. With the various incentives and strong policy support such as the publication of the Smart City Blueprint for Hong Kong in December 2017, it is anticipated that the sub-sectors of Telecommunication activities and Software publishing and information technology related services will continue its development in the years ahead (with their manpower requirements projected to grow at average annual rates of 1.6% and 2.5% respectively during the period from 2017 to 2027). On the other hand, owing to the continuous shrinkage of the print media and increasing automation and use of advanced technology in the printing industry, the related manpower demands of the Miscellaneous activities related to information and communications sub-sector is expected to fall (at an average annual rate of 0.7% during the period from 2017 to 2027). The manpower requirements of the I&C sector as a whole were about 115 800 in 2017, and are projected to grow at an average annual rate of 1.2% to 130 700 in 2027.

In gist, the I&C sector is projected as one the faster growing economic sectors (i.e. those with the projected growth rate faster than that of the overall economy) in terms of manpower requirements during the period from 2017 to 2027.

 

Overall Manpower Requirement in I&C Sector

Sub-sector

Actual manpower requirements in 2017

Number

Projected manpower requirements in 2027

Number

Projected change from 2017 to 2027 Projected average annual rate of change (2017 − 2027)
Telecommunication activities& 21 000 24 500 + 3 600 + 1.6%
Software publishing and information technology related services# 51 300 65 500 + 14 200 + 2.5%
Miscellaneous activities related to information and communications** 43 500 40 700 - 2 800 - 0.7%
Whole sector 115 800
130 700
+15 000
+ 1.2%

&   It includes the activities of providing telecommunications and related service activities, i.e. transmitting data, signal, text, sound and video, etc.

#   It includes publishing of ready-made (non-customised) software including operating systems, computer games for all platforms, business and other applications, as well as online game websites which design, reproduce and distribute the software games by themselves. It also includes computer software design, computer system integration and other information technology services. Also included are the provision of infrastructure for web hosting, data processing services and related activities, as well as the provision of search facilities and other portal services for the Internet.

**  It includes publishing of books, periodicals and other publishing activities; motion pictures, video and television programme production, sound recording and music publishing activities; programming and broadcasting activities; and other information service activities.

Note: Individual figures may not add up to the totals due to rounding.

 

Manpower Requirement in I&C Sector by Occupation Group

Occupation Group

Actual manpower requirements in 2017

Number

Projected manpower requirements in 2027

Number

Projected change from 2017 to 2027 Projected average annual rate of change (2017 − 2027)
Managers and Administrators 21 800 26 500 + 4 800 + 2.0%
Professionals 35 000 40 900 + 5 900 + 1.6%
Associate Professionals 36 200 42 400 + 6 200 + 1.6%
Clerical Support Workers 12 300 11 400 - 900 - 0.8%
Service and Sales Workers 3 700 3 800 + 100 + 0.3%
Craft and Related Workers 3 900 3 600 - 300 - 0.9%
Drivers, Plant and Machine Operators, and Assemblers 800 600 - 200 - 3.4%
Elementary Occupations 2 100 1 600 - 500 - 2.6%
Total 115 800 130 700 + 15 000 + 1.2%

Note: Individual figures may not add up to the totals due to rounding.

 

Manpower Requirement in I&C Sector by Education Level

Education Level

Actual manpower requirements in 2017

Number

Projected manpower requirements in 2027

Number

Projected change from 2017 to 2027 Projected average annual rate of change (2017 − 2027)
Lower secondary and below 4 400 2 500 - 2 000 - 5.6%
Upper secondary 25 300 21 000 - 4 300 - 1.9%
Diploma 3 900 3 500 - 400 - 1.1%
Sub-degree 9 300 11 700 + 2 400 + 2.4%
First degree 56 600 70 700 + 14 200 + 2.3%
Post-graduate 16 300 21 300 + 5 000 + 2.7%
Total 115 800 130 700 + 15 000 + 1.2%

Note: Individual figures may not add up to the totals due to rounding.

 

Information Technology and Information Services Industry

Overall Trend

The Information Technology and Information Services (IT&IS) industry covers Telecommunication activities and Software publishing and information technology related services. The rolling-out of 5G and the development of Hong Kong into a smart city present new opportunities for Hong Kong to further excel its telecommunication- and information technology-related business. The rapid development of Fintech, big data analytics, artificial intelligence and cyber security in various sectors of our economy calls for huge demand of personnel with comprehensive knowledge and experience on relevant subject matter as well as information technology (IT). In addition, many companies tend to rely on IT vendors external to the companies to develop new technologies for their businesses and many small and medium enterprises even outsource their entire IT operations or moving their operations to the cloud. This offers excellent opportunity for Hong Kong to develop telecommunication- and IT-related business. The advanced telecommunication infrastructure and IT-savvy workers in Hong Kong are conducive to the development of telecommunication and IT services. It is anticipated that the IT&IS industry will continue to expand. The manpower requirements of this sector are projected to grow considerably at an average annual rate of 2.2% from 72 300 in 2017 to 90 000 in 2027.

 

Overall Manpower Requirement in IT&IS Industry

Sub-sector

Actual manpower requirements in 2017

Number

Projected manpower requirements in 2027

Number

Projected change from 2017 to 2027 Projected average annual rate of change (2017 − 2027)
Telecommunication activities& 21 000 24 500 + 3 600 + 1.6%

Software publishing and information technology related services#

51 300 65 500 + 14 200 + 2.5%
Total 72 300 90 000 + 17 800 + 2.2%

&   It includes the activities of providing telecommunications and related service activities, i.e. transmitting data, signal, text, sound and video, etc. 

#   It includes publishing of ready-made (non-customised) software including operating systems, computer games for all platforms, business and other applications, as well as online game websites which design, reproduce and distribute the software games by themselves. It also includes computer software design, computer system integration and other information technology services. Also included are the provision of infrastructure for web hosting, data processing services and related activities, as well as the provision of search facilities and other portal services for the Internet.

Note: Individual figures may not add up to the totals due to rounding.

 

Manpower Requirement in IT&IS Industry by Occupation Group

Occupation Group

Actual manpower requirements in 2017

Number

Projected manpower requirements in 2027

Number

Projected change from 2017 to 2027 Projected average annual rate of change (2017 − 2027)
Managers and Administrators 16 300 21 300 + 5 000 + 2.7%
Professionals 21 000 27 200 + 6 200 + 2.6%
Associate Professionals 23 900 30 300 + 6 400 + 2.4%
Clerical Support Workers 6 700 6 800 + 100 + 0.2%
Service and Sales Workers 1 400 1 400 ^^ §§
Craft and Related Workers 2 300 2 500 + 200 + 0.7%
Drivers, Plant and Machine Operators, and Assemblers 300 200 - 100 - 2.3%
Elementary Occupations 500 400 - 100 - 3.0%
Total 72 300 90 000 + 17 800 + 2.2%

^^   Change within ±50

§§   Figure is suppressed owing to small value of the estimated projected change.

Note: Individual figures may not add up to the totals due to rounding.

 

Manpower Requirement in IT&IS Industry by Education Level

Education Level

Actual manpower requirements in 2017

Number

Projected manpower requirements in 2027

Number

Projected change from 2017 to 2027 Projected average annual rate of change (2017 − 2027)
Lower secondary and below 1 700 1 200 - 500 - 3.3%
Upper secondary 13 400 12 000 - 1 400 - 1.1%
Diploma 2 500 2 800 + 300 + 1.2%
Sub-degree 5 600 7 700 + 2 100 + 3.3%
First degree 37 400 49 600 + 12 200 + 2.9%
Post-graduate 11 700 16 700 + 5 000 + 3.6%
Total 72 300 90 000 + 17 800
+ 2.2%

Note: Individual figures may not add up to the totals due to rounding.

 

IT Workers

Overall Trend

There are IT workers (such as IT managers, system analysts and programmers) engaging in other sectors, apart from the IT&IS sector. For instance, there are workers taking up IT jobs in such sectors as Financial services; Import, export, wholesale and retail trades, as well as Social and personal services. The total number of IT workers required across all economic sectors was about 90 400 in 2016. With wide application of IT to improve work efficiency in various sectors and the trends of adopting technologies, including artificial intelligence, data analytics, cyber security and Fintech in business processes, the economy-wide requirements for IT workers are anticipated to grow remarkably at an average annual rate of 2.5% to 119 000 in 2027.

 

Manpower Requirement of the IT Workers by Economic Sector

Economic Sector

Actual manpower requirements in 2016&

Number

Projected manpower requirements in 2027

Number

Projected change from 2016 to 2027 Projected average annual rate of change (2016 − 2027)
Import, export, wholesale and retail trades, accommodation and food services 16 700 16 700 + 100 **
Information and communications 38 200 59 600 + 21 400 + 4.1%
Financial services, real estate, professional and business services 17 100 19 100 + 2 000 + 1.0%
Social and personal services 14 500

19 600

+ 5 100

+ 2.8%

Others# 4 000 4 000 - 100 - 0.1%
Total 90 400 119 000 + 28 500 + 2.5%

&   The actual manpower requirements of IT workers were compiled based on findings of the “2016 Manpower Survey on Information Technology Sector” conducted by the Vocational Training Council (VTC), which were the latest available information at the time the projection was being compiled.

#   “Others” include Manufacturing; Electricity, gas, water and waste management; Construction; Transportation, storage, postal and courier services.

**  Rate of change within ±0.05%

Note: Individual figures may not add up to the totals due to rounding.

 

With the wide-spread application of IT at the workplace, the on-going development on technology measures including artificial intelligence, data analytics and robotics technologies and their potential adoption in various business processes, the total requirements for IT workers are projected to be on an upward trend at an average annual rate of 2.5% during the projection period to 119 000 in 2027.

 

Manpower Requirement of the IT Workers by IT-related Occupation Group

IT-related occupation group

Actual manpower requirements in 2016&

Number

Projected manpower requirements in 2027

Number

Projected change from 2016 to 2027 Projected average annual rate of change (2016 − 2027)
IT managers 7 000 9 200 + 2 200 + 2.5%
IT professionals 47 400 64 900 + 17 500 + 2.9%
IT associate professionals 30 200 36 100 + 5 800 + 1.6%
IT sales workers

5 800

8 800

+ 3 000

+ 3.8%

IT personnel 90 400 119 000 + 28 500 + 2.5%

&   The actual manpower requirements of IT workers were compiled based on findings of the “2016 Manpower Survey on Information Technology Sector” conducted by the Vocational Training Council (VTC), which were the latest available information at the time the projection was being compiled.

Note: Individual figures may not add up to the totals due to rounding.

 

 

Source: “Report on Manpower Projection to 2027”, Labour and Welfare Bureau, The Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region