Chief Executive Carrie Lam, Leader of Hong Kong, China, spoke about the future of the workforce during a panel discussion about human capital development held on Saturday. The dialogue was part of a two-day summit in Port Moresby which brings together the region’s leaders and the private sector ahead of the APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting.

    Education, Science, Technology, Engineering and Math

  1. “What will be the future of work in this globalized environment? The answer to that is really to make our new generation, our younger generation, more adaptable, more versatile, able to face changes and adapt to those changes.”
  2. “I put a lot of emphasis on education, but no longer in acquisition of skills or knowledge, but really to stimulate thinking, to make our kids more creative, or even more curious about things happening outside their home environment, their school environment so in the future, when they enter the workforce, they will be able to grasp the many opportunities available to them and adapt to these changes.”
  3. “But for the time being, if you ask me for one important thing in education, it’s STEM [Science, Technology, Engineering and Math] education. Because technology is going to change the world. It has already changed the world.”
  4. “The value in science, technology lies in solving problems, whether it is in the economy or in our everyday life.”
  5. “I suppose the workforce of the future will be very much a multidisciplinary and multi-professional one. So, when we talk about health technology, it is very much medical doctors and engineers working together. When we talk about AI, it is very much a data scientist with designers working together.”

    Women in the workforce

  6. “You feel that Hong Kong doesn’t have gender discrimination, women have equal access to education, and over half of university graduates are women, over half of medical students are now women. But the women labor participation rate is actually not high at all. Only 51 per cent, the overall average, which is significantly below other Asian economies.”
  7. “That’s why I have to roll out a lot of family-friendly practices, childcare, policies and initiatives … in order to keep the women in the workforce. Otherwise our healthcare will have a major problem, because over half of the medical students are women, but they quit only after serving a few years. And we need over six years to train a medical doctor.”

    Youth and startups

  8. “Perhaps the workforce of the future will see a larger role to be played by startups.”
  9. “I feel startups, perhaps, will also meet the aspirations of young people. They’ll want to group together, a few of them. A brilliant idea: then see whether it works.”
  10. “Engaging young people is a very important thing for all of us, because they are the future. And we really want them to be able to contribute to an even more prosperous future.”