The demand for professionals in the technologies and innovations sector in Hong Kong is estimated to hit 4.5% annually from 2010 to 2018, the, even higher than the 2.5% in the financial services sector, according to a recently released government manpower study.

This is the first time that the government has predicted a manpower shortage spanning across different sectors since 1988 when the first study was done.

According to the study, there will a demand for 3.596 million workers, higher than the supply of 3.582 million workers in 2018. As a result, around 14,000 jobs might have to be filled over the next few years by either foreign and mainland graduates or new immigrants, the study says. "The number [of 14,000] might not sound huge," said a spokesperson of the Labour and Welfare Bureau. "But we have to pay attention to it as it'd be the first time such an issue arises."

The government's estimate is based on data collected from about 8,000 households and 5,000 employers from 2010 to 2011, plus economic growth rates in recent years. The shortage, said the government, is caused by the retirement of 300,000 baby boomers in 2018 and the slow growth in labor supply at 0.6% annually compared the labor demand growth of 1.1%. The slow growth in labor supply is a result of the increasingly alarming low birth rate in Hong Kong, the government added.