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Hong Kong Prioritises AI

Research from Amazon Web Services finds that workers with AI expertise could see salary hikes up to 28% as organisations navigate challenges in attracting skilled talent.

By Maggie Mancini

When artificial intelligence is fully harnessed, Hong Kong workers with these tech skills and expertise could see salary hikes up to 28%, with workers in information technology (28%) and research and development (27%) enjoying the highest pay bumps, followed by sales and marketing (25%), according to research from Amazon Web Services (AWS).  

To better understand emerging AI usage trends and skill needs in Hong Kong workplaces, AWS commissioned Access Partnership to conduct a regional study. Over 1,600 employees and 500 organisations in Hong Kong were surveyed.  

On top of significant salary bumps, the research finds that the productivity payoff from AI could be immense for Hong Kong. Surveyed employers believe that AI can boost their organisations’ productivity by 40%, while workers believe AI could raise their efficiency by as much as 47%. Both employers and workers expect to see the same three productivity benefits from using AI: improving workflow and outcomes (72% and 62% respectively); automating repetitive tasks (66% and 60% respectively); and supporting learning (53% and 50% respectively).  

The research also finds that employers are placing greater emphasis on soft skills for employees to possess by 2028. The survey results show that employers find soft skills like critical thinking (56%) and creative thinking (52%) more important than technical skills like coding (51%).  

A total of 84% surveyed employees used AI-powered tools across their organisation in 2023, and this is expected to increase to 94% of all organisations by 2028. While most employers believe their IT department (90%) will be the biggest beneficiary, they also foresee research and development (85%) and business operations (85%) driving significant value from AI.  

Generative AI—a type of AI that can create new content and ideas rapidly, including conversations, stories, images, videos, music, and more—has captured the attention of the public in the past year, and this technology is already transforming workplaces in Hong Kong. The research finds that 94% of employers and 91% of employees expect to use GenAI tools on the job within the next five years, with 62% of employers highlighting automating repetitive tasks as the top benefit, followed by increasing innovation and creativity (60%) and improving outcomes (56%).  

“The rise of GenAI presents an unparalleled opportunity for Hong Kong business to drive innovation, enhance productivity, and stay ahead of the curve,” says Robert Wang, managing director of Hong Kong and Taiwan at AWS. “However, nurturing an AI-skilled workforce is essential to unlocking the full potential of these technologies. At AWS, we are committed to empowering organisations with the training, tools, and resources needed to upskill themselves and prepared for the AI-powered future.”  

Most of Hong Kong’s workers (80%) are interested in developing AI skills to accelerate their careers, and this transcends generations and genders. Around seven in 10 Gen Z (71%), millennials (73%), and Gen X (70%) workers want to acquire AI skills, close to half (48%) of baby boomers—a generation contemplating retirement—say they would enroll in an AI upskilling course if it was offered to them. Meanwhile, male (81%) and female (79%) employees indicate interest in advancing their careers by learning AI skills.  

The research also reveals a looming AI skills gap that must be bridged to ensure the city is well-positioned to unlock the full productivity benefits of AI. Hiring AI-skilled talent is a priority for 70% of employers in Hong Kong, of which 73% find it challenging to find the AI talent they need. Three-quarters (76%) of employers say they lack the knowledge to implement an AI workforce training programme. They also lack the financial resources to provide employees with AI training (70%) and time for employees to pursue training outside of core work responsibilities (69%).  

Tags: APAC June 2024, APAC News

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