Hong Kong businesses face greater challenges training staff to implement new technologies

By Robert Half | Wednesday, 30 Oct 2019

New technologies are rapidly changing workplace dynamics, however, research by specialised recruiter Robert Half shows that Hong Kong business leaders find it significantly more challenging to train and hire staff to implement new technology than their global peers.

Business leaders globally recognise the importance of training to assist with adapting and implementing new technologies within their organisations, however many think their efforts could be hampered by unavoidable challenges. Globally, almost eight in 10 (78%) business leaders predict it will be challenging to train staff on new technologies. This is especially the case in Hong Kong, where 90% of Hong Kong managers anticipate challenges in upskilling staff to adapt to new technology – above the APAC (88%) average.

Elaine Lam, Associate Director of Robert Half Hong Kong says: “Hong Kong has ambitions to become a global innovation and technology hub, however adopting new technologies on an organisational and workforce level is imperative to driving digital transformation across the city state. While technology is the driver behind business transformation, it is human capital that will determine its success, highlighting the need for Hong Kong business leaders to prioritise change management, upskilling and reskilling their existing workforce, and recruiting the right talent to adapt to new technology.”

“Globally, the workplace dynamic is shifting towards a more technology-enabled future. In order to stay competitive, companies are under increasing pressure to source, recruit and nurture talent that can quickly adapt to new technology and drive organisational change in the face of new opportunities. To survive into the future, employees must be agile and responsive to new technologies for businesses to be capable of taking full advantage of its benefits.”

Methods to help staff learn about new technologies

Despite a keen awareness amongst Hong Kong employers of the challenges of adapting their workforce to new technologies, Hong Kong is among the least proactive globally when it comes to professional development to help employees learn about new technologies. Three in five (61%) Hong Kong companies have increased their staff training budgets over the last two years, compared to 65% across APAC, and 64% globally.

Although Hong Kong business are not increasing their training budget at the same rate of their global peers, Hong Kong companies have implemented a variety of training options to help staff adapt to new technology.

  • 48% In-person training through seminars and courses
  • 38% Working with a mentor
  • 36% Online courses
  • 29% Knowledge transfer from interim/contractors or other subject matter experts to staff.

The right talent, key in a digitised workplace

Aside from training existing teams, Hong Kong companies are also looking at bringing in the necessary skills, though this is also not without challenges. Close to eight in ten (77%) Hong Kong business leaders believe it is challenging to source professionals skilled in the new technologies their company will be implementing — above the global average of 71%.

In order to build more agile workforces that are responsive to the benefits of new technology, 72% of Hong Kong business leaders are endorsing a flexible staffing model which utilises experienced interim/contract professionals to transfer knowledge and upskill through their existing teams, compared to 69% of their global peers.

“Flexible staffing allows Hong Kong companies to quickly onboard the most suitable contracting talent to manage critical projects and share their skills with existing teams. In tandem with a robust professional development program, this can support company goals to build the skilled workforce needed to maximise the opportunities offered by evolving technologies,” Elaine Lam concluded. 

Robert Half

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