Hong Kong workers in the mainland are losing their competitive edge over their local counterparts, whose skills have improved despite lower salaries, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reported Wednesday.
Mainland workers are now able to perform tasks previously given to Hongkongers and have become more familiar with local working conditions, the report said, citing entrepreneur Sum Wing-nin.
Certain lower to middle positions have been filled with trained local workers, although managerial and administrative jobs are still dominated by Hong Kong professionals, according to a 2010 survey by the Hong Kong Census and Statistics Department.
This came roughly a decade after Hong Kong workers began leaving home to work in the mainland.
China has produced 7.27 million university graduates this year, according to official data.
More than 120 million people have a college education or above, 8.9 percent of the population in 2010, up from 2.9 percent in 2000.
These graduates, together with those returning from overseas, are exerting competitive pressure on workers from Hong Kong, the report said.
Mainland graduates have a level of education comparable to those of their Hong Kong counterparts, David Zweig, a senior academic from the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, was quoted as saying.
The number of Hong Kong workers in the mainland rose to 157,000 in the 10 years to 1998 from 52,000, Hong Kong Census and Statistics Department data shows.
The figure peaked at 244,000 in 2004, a year after SARS caused a severe economic downturn in Hong Kong.
Hong Kong entrepreneurs have been ramping up investment in the mainland, driven by a rising yuan.
Sum is one of them, beginning with a computer business in 1998 before expanding into the property sector.
Sum said the mainland has an even bigger potential now than 10 years ago, with people able to buy their own home unlike most of their counterparts in Hong Kong.
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