HK failing to cultivate digital skills

Nine in ten Hong Kong business leaders plan to increase spending on digital technology in the next two years (Image WEIMING_CHEN / iStockPhoto)

Nine in ten Hong Kong business leaders plan to increase their investments in digital technology over the next two years, but 70% are struggling to find the right talent to help them achieve their digital ambitions.

These are among the key findings of new research commissioned by Google Hong Kong and conducted by Ipsos. The second Smarter Digital City Whitepaper explored Hong Kong's progress in transforming into a smart city.

The whitepaper considers Hong Hong’s approach to digitisation and its credentials as a smart city, based on the opinions of consumers, SMEs, enterprises, policymakers and nearby countries.

The report highlights a disparity between the digital progress of large and smaller companies, while 85% of enterprises have increased their digital investments this year, only 34% of Hong Kong businesses have a web presence, and just half of SMEs consider digital to be fundamental to their future.

Meanwhile, although they are generally satisfied with the available infrastructure, residents do not yet consider Hong Kong to be a leading smart city, and both consumers and enterprises believe the city is facing major gaps in R&D, technology hubs, app development and tech talent.

Only 14% of Hong Kong residents think their city is successfully developing digital talent, although 80% of residents would like to improve their digital skills.

The skills shortage is most acutely felt in areas including data analytics. Among employers that believe data analytics skills are important to have from staff, 70% believe it is difficult to find these skills while recruiting.

Fortunately analytics, along with machine learning and app development, are among the top digital skills Hong Kong residents are interested in cultivating.

To coincide with the release of the report, Google Hong Kong has announced a series of initiatives aimed at developing the city's digital talent and helping talented employees connect with the businesses seeking to hire them.

These include introducing new Cantonese language course to its Digital Garage platform, expanding the reach of its CS First computer science education program for children, and launching a new job search tool built into Google Search that compiles results from popular job listing websites, online classifieds and companies

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