The Key Issues Affecting the Economy in Hong Kong

The service sector dominates the economy, but women face discrimination in employment and COVID-19 restrictions are attributed to the exodus of educated workers. The turnout rate in December Legislative Council elections was the lowest ever. A few other issues affecting the economy are discussed. Here are some of the key ones:

Service sector dominates economy

The service sector in Hong Kong is one of the most important sectors of the economy. It contributes over half of Hong Kong’s GDP and accounts for the largest share of the economy. With the decline of the manufacturing industry, the service sector has exploded, providing jobs and income for millions of people. While this expansion has been successful, it may not be able to absorb the lost manufacturing jobs, particularly for unskilled workers and the middle class.

The service sector in Hong Kong is the largest employer, accounting for over eighty percent of the economy in 1998. Its employment proportion was roughly the same as that of other developed economies at the same time. This reflects the city’s unique economic structure. Its competitive edge comes from its ability to satisfy customers quickly and reduce costs. The service sector has been the cornerstone of Hong Kong’s economic growth for over 30 years.

Women face discrimination in employment

Despite Hong Kong’s relatively westernized culture, women continue to experience discrimination in the workplace. While the proportion of male and female employees is close, women are disproportionately employed in lower-status occupations. Women make up only 14.3% of the directors of Hang Seng Index-listed companies. In addition, gender stereotypes prevent girls from studying certain subjects, including science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). As a result, boys are four times more likely than girls to enter STEM fields.

In order to counter this trend, Hong Kong’s government has enacted laws that make it illegal for companies to advertise their hiring requirements based on gender, race, or age. However, some companies are still breaking the law. In the past, this has led to a disproportionately large number of discriminatory advertisements. Thankfully, the Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) has issued guidance to employers to help prevent gender-based discrimination in the workplace.

COVID-19 restrictions blamed for exodus of educated workers

The COVID-19 virus is causing an exodus of educated workers from Hong-Kong. According to the American Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong, the government has imposed strict COVID-19 restrictions in the territory. The new rules have cut Hong Kong off from mainland China and the rest of the world. That’s bad news for an economy that has relied on global connections.

Many activists believe COVID-19-related restrictions are to blame for the exodus of educated workers from Hong-Kong. The aforementioned restrictions have also limited cultural events in the city. For example, the museum that memorializes the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre faced difficulties in maintaining a lease, despite its COVID-19 protections.

The emigration-induced turnover rate is expected to stabilize in 2022, according to the Hong Kong Chamber of Commerce. The city’s economy is likely to face a significant hit due to the exodus of educated workers. However, the government has made several attempts to curb this scourge. In January, it surveyed 200 companies to gauge the impact of the COVID-19 quarantine rules.

Turnout rate in December Legislative Council election record low

The turnout rate in December Legislative Council elections was extremely low compared to previous elections. Only 30.2 percent of voters turned out to vote. This figure contrasts with 71.2% for the district council elections in 2019, which delivered a landslide victory to the pro-democracy camp. Despite the low turnout, the election was seen as a de facto referendum on the protest movement.

The turnout rate was also historically low. Only 57.3 percent of eligible voters turned out for the September election, which was 97 percent smaller than the December election. Moreover, the election process is so cumbersome that all candidates, except for a handful of uncontested seats, have to pass a lengthy application process. Furthermore, Beijing-imposed changes have required candidates to undergo patriotic background checks. Only 20 of 90 Legislative Council seats are directly elected by the voters.

The turnout rate for the December Legislative Council election in Hong Kong was the lowest since it happened in the city two years ago. Just over 30 percent of eligible voters went to the polls. This is a record low compared to the record 63 percent of Hong Kong voters who voted in 2016. There were 153 candidates running for 90 seats in the Legislative Council. Twenty of the seats were directly elected, while 30 seats were chosen from functional groups. The remaining 40 seats are mutually elected by 1,500 election committee members. There were ten arrests before election day, including two accused of casting blank votes.