Smart Hong Kong initiative expected to lead to more job opportunities and higher salary for IT workers

With the Smart City initiatives well underway, research by Robert Half reveals what impact technology leaders expect the initiatives to have on the sector.

  • 45% of Hong Kong CIOs believe the government’s Smart City initiatives will lead to increased job opportunities for IT workers.
  • 21% think it will lead to an increase in average salaries in the IT market.
  • 92% find it more challenging to find qualified IT professionals compared to five years ago, specifically within the areas of IT security (52%), business transformation (41%) and digitisation (40%).

With the Hong Kong government’s Smart City initiatives well underway, new independent research commissioned by specialised recruiter Robert Half reveals what impact technology leaders expect the initiatives to have on the sector. According to the research, almost half (45%) of Hong Kong CIOs believe Smart City initiatives, which aim to use innovation and technology to enhance city management and improve people’s livelihood[1], will lead to increased job opportunities for IT workers, and more than one in five (21%) think it will lead to an increase in average salaries for IT professionals.

When asked about the potential impact of Smart City initiatives on the IT market, job opportunities are expected to increase foremost within SMEs[2], with 54% of CIOs in small and medium-sized companies anticipating a surge in jobs, compared to 28% of CIOs within large companies. However, almost one in three (32%) CIOs in large organisations believe average salaries for IT workers will increase as a result of the government initiatives, as opposed to 16% of CIOs in SMEs.  

Still considering the potential impacts, more than one in 10 (12%) CIOs say the Smart City initiatives will increase competition for top IT talent. Just under one in 10 (8%) believe it will result in a greater influx of skilled IT candidates into the area and merely 4% think it will lead to more government investment in IT education leading to more local IT candidates. A further 4% say the government initiatives hasn’t had an impact yet.

Adam Johnston, Managing Director at Robert Half Hong Kong said: “The government’s ‘Smart Hong Kong’ initiatives are expected to further promote Hong Kong as a globally recognised innovation hub. By further implementing such projects, more jobs are anticipated to be created for IT professionals in the city, while positioning Hong Kong as a global magnet for international IT workers looking to work within a city-wide innovation project.”

“Building a better-connected and efficient city driven by the latest technology will also create strong demand in the local IT talent market. As a result of the supply/demand imbalance within the IT employment market, salaries for IT talent will serve as a primary incentive with companies willing to increase starting pay to secure top technology talent. Job opportunities are expected to expand particularly within SMEs, which isn’t surprising given disruptive technologies and creative ideas are typically developed within technology start-ups.”

However, despite the ambitious goals of its Smart City initiatives, Hong Kong is currently experiencing a shortage of suitably qualified IT talent. According to the overwhelming majority (92%) of Hong Kong CIOs, it is now more challenging to source qualified IT professionals than it was five years ago. More specifically, the key functional areas within IT where it is challenging to source skilled talent are IT security (52%), business transformation (41%) and digitisation (40%).

“As with any initiative, innovative projects will struggle to be implemented without the help of the right people, and Hong Kong employers may find themselves struggling to deliver and grow if they cannot successfully source the right IT talent. Companies need to be proactive in their search for skilled talent, and help promote IT and technology as an attractive career path for future professionals,” concluded Adam Johnston.



About the research

The annual study is developed by Robert Half and was conducted in June-July 2017 by an independent research firm, surveying 75 CIOs/CTOs in Hong Kong. This survey is part of the international workplace survey, a questionnaire about job trends, talent management and trends in the workplace. 


[2] Company size definitions

Number of staff in the respondent’s business


50-499 staff


500+ staff



Katherine Mills
Public Relations Manager, Asia Pacific
P: +61 2 8028 7757
E: [email protected]