Insight & Analysis

Press release: PwC: hybrid working and AI in Hong Kong

Published: Aug 2023

16th August 2023 – Today, PwC released the Hong Kong Workforce Hopes and Fears Survey 2023. The survey revealed that the hybrid working model and artificial intelligence (AI) are productive ways forward for Hong Kong’s workforce. In terms of employee sentiment, Hong Kong employees reported lower levels of job satisfaction compared to their Asia-Pacific (APAC) and global counterparts. Additionally, Hong Kong employees have been slower to recognise the relevance of sustainability compared to their APAC and global peers.

Press release news paper

Future of Work: Hybrid working and AI are the future for Hong Kong’s workforce

Hybrid working is the prevailing work arrangement in Hong Kong for those that have determined their jobs can be performed remotely. The Survey found that 76% of Hong Kong employees are now adopting a hybrid working model, significantly higher than APAC (59%) and global (54%).

Hong Kong employees anticipate that AI will have a mostly positive impact on their jobs, aligning with APAC and global responses. AI is positively viewed as an opportunity for Hong Kong employees to increase productivity or efficiency (40%) and learn new skills (30%), while only 19% think AI will not impact their job.

Michael Cheng, Workforce Lead Partner of PwC Hong Kong, said: “The world has changed profoundly in recent years, with fundamental shifts in the way we live, work, and interact with one another. This has necessitated that businesses adapt to new ways of operating, such as the implementation of remote work arrangements and a greater emphasis on digitalisation. While such changes have brought benefits, including increased flexibility and improved work-life balance, they have also presented new challenges. Business leaders and employers are encouraged to experiment with different modes of working to support workplace flexibility, in addition to utilising AI, while increasing opportunities to upskill.”

Recently, PwC China announced plans to mobilise all of its 25,000 people as part of a strategic process to integrate Responsible AI in helping clients build trust and achieve sustained outcomes. The firm will invest RMB3 billion in AI over the next five years in Mainland China and Hong Kong to responsibly deliver human-led tech-powered solutions to its clients and ensure the firm remains ready for the future.

Workforce and upskilling: Hong Kong employees’ job satisfaction levels are to be improved

In contrast to APAC and global, Hong Kong employees’ satisfaction and inclusion levels remain low, underscored by challenges including pay perceptions, workplace inclusion and fairness, as well as mutual respect and recognition that contribute to lower job satisfaction. Altogether, 39% of respondents from Hong Kong state that they are satisfied with their jobs, a slight YoY increase of 3%, but lower than their APAC (57%) and global (56%) counterparts. Further, 30% of Hong Kong employees find fulfilment in their jobs, a slight increase of 2% when compared to 2022. The workforce in Hong Kong feel less fairly compensated financially for their labour (35%), compared to APAC (46%) and global (42%) averages.

Human skills such as adaptability, collaboration, and critical thinking matter more than technical skills in the modern workplace across Hong Kong, APAC and globally. The survey also found that Hong Kong employees are less likely to expect significant changes in job skills, with only 28% of respondents saying they believe the skills their jobs require will change significantly in the next 5 years. Additionally, only 29% of Hong Kong respondents say that their employers provide them with opportunities to apply new skills. To address these issues, employers should create an environment with a stronger focus on applying future skills, and motivating highly-skilled employees in ways beyond monetary incentives.

Sustainability: Hong Kong employees are slower to recognise the relevance of sustainability

43% of Hong Kong employees disagree andare indifferent over whether their employer has a responsibility to take action against climate change, and 38% believe their company is taking sufficient climate action, slightly lower than APAC (43%) but in line with global.

In terms of business viability, 42% of Hong Kong employees believe the company they work for will not survive more than a decade if they continue on their current path, 12% higher than the global average.

Albert Lo, Advisory Consulting Financial Services Leader of PwC Hong Kong, said: “Whilst making great strides, the workforce in Hong Kong still has a way to go on its journey of sustainability. ESG is increasingly central to companies’ strategic planning, brand and culture. It creates value, contributes to performance and competitiveness, strengthens stakeholder relationships and mitigates risks, all of which affect the workforce. Business leaders and employers are encouraged to promote awareness and understanding across ESG issues, and consistently communicate the business strategy to ensure employees can confidently get on board for the journey.”

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