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Employment

Hong Kong Standard Industrial Classification

Since March 2009, the industry breakdowns of employment statistics are based on the Hong Kong Standard Industrial Classification Version 2.0 (HSIC V2.0), which is modelled on the United Nations' International Standard Industrial Classification of All Economic Activities Revision 4 (ISIC Rev. 4), with adaptation for the industrial structure of the local economy. The series has been backcasted to the reference period of March 2000. Users may refer to the feature article entitled "Revision of the Hong Kong Standard Industrial Classification" published in the November 2008 issue of the Hong Kong Monthly Digest of Statistics for more details on the revision of HSIC.

Persons Engaged and Vacancies

Statistics on the number of establishments, persons engaged and vacancies serve as indicators of short-term changes in the local labour market. It should be noted that figures in the tables concerned are based mainly on the findings of the Quarterly Survey of Employment and Vacancies (SEV) and the Quarterly Employment Survey of Construction Sites (Site Survey), which does not cover some industries for operational difficulties. The relevant surveys mainly do not cover the economic activities in the following industry sections :

Industry section Economic activities not covered


A Agriculture, forestry and fishing (entire industry section)
F Construction (other than construction sites)
G Hawkers and retail pitches (other than market stalls)
H Taxis, public light buses, and part of goods vehicles and inland freight water transport
K Monetary authorities and self-employed insurance agents with no business registration
M & N Renting and leasing of recreational and sports goods
O Public administration (entire industry section)
P -  S Religious organisations, authors and other independent artists, and some social and personal services
T Work activities within domestic households (entire industry section)
U Activities of extraterritorial organisations and bodies (entire industry section)

Owing to the incomplete survey coverage in respect of some industry sections (namely, industry sections F, G, H, K, M, N and P-S under HSIC V2.0), figures for them and the total figures are not meant to represent the overall situation of these industry sections and the entire labour market respectively. This should be borne in mind when interpreting the respective figures.

For the non-construction industry sections covered by the SEV, the unit of enquiry is an establishment.  An establishment is defined as an economic unit which engages, under a single ownership or control, in one or predominantly one kind of economic activity at a single physical location, e.g. an individual factory, workshop, retail shop or office. Where separate figures relating to different activities or different locations under the same management are not available, a combined return is accepted. In this case, the reporting unit is treated as an establishment. For the civil service, the unit of enquiry is a government bureau/department. For the Site Survey, the unit of enquiry is a construction site. A construction site is defined as a demarcated locality where one or more stages of construction work are being carried on.

For establishments outside the civil service, persons engaged include :

  1. individual proprietors, partners and persons having family ties with any of the proprietors or partners and working in the establishment without regular pay, who are actively engaged in the work of the establishment for at least 1 hour on the survey reference date;
  2. full-time salaried personnel/employees directly paid by the establishment and working directors of limited companies, both permanent and temporary, who are either at work (whether or not in Hong Kong) or temporarily absent from work (viz. those on sick leave, maternity leave, annual vacation or casual leave, and on strike) on the survey reference date; and
  3. part-time employees and employees on night/irregular shifts working for at least 1 hour on the survey reference date.

Civil servants refer to persons who are employed on civil service terms of appointment as at the survey reference date. Independent Commission Against Corruption officers, locally engaged staff working in the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Offices outside Hong Kong, and other government employees like Non-Civil Service Contract staff are excluded. A minor revision has been made on the statistical definition since the statistical month of June 1999, whereby judges and judicial officers in the Judiciary are excluded from the coverage of civil servants.

Manual workers at construction sites refer to skilled, semi-skilled and general workers working at those sites on the survey reference date. Manual workers are either directly employed by the main contractors, or being called upon by sub-contractors or gangers to work in the construction sites.

Vacancies refer to unfilled job openings which are immediately available, and for which active recruitment steps are being taken on the survey reference date. However, vacancies at construction sites include only those vacancies of manual workers.

For closer conformity with the above concept of vacancies, the definition of civil service vacancies has been revised starting from the statistical month of June 1999, such that civil service vacancies having arisen from posts pending deletion and posts held by temporary staff or reserved for other staff are excluded. Revision of the statistics has been backdated to the statistical month of March 1996.

Since then, the definition of civil service vacancies has been further revised in accordance with the different civil service policies implemented in different periods:

  1. Starting from the statistical month of March 2005, civil service vacancies refer to unfilled posts in those bureaux and departments to which exemptions from the open recruitment freeze have been granted such that they may conduct limited number of open recruitment exercises having regard to their manpower requirements. Statistics have been revised on this basis and backdated to the statistical month of March 2004. The general open recruitment freeze to the civil service was imposed from 1 April 2003 to 31 March 2007.
  2. Following the lifting of the general civil service open recruitment freeze for grades that are not subject to voluntary retirement (VR) with effect from 1 April 2007, civil service vacancies as from the statistical month of June 2007 refer to (i) the vacancies for non-VR grades, i.e. vacancies net of posts pending deletion and posts held by temporary staff or reserved for other staff; and (ii) the vacancies for VR grades for which exemptions from the open recruitment freeze have been granted.
  3. Following the lifting of the open recruitment freeze imposed for VR grades with effect from 21 March 2008, civil service vacancies as from the statistical month of March 2008 refer to the vacancies net of posts pending deletion and posts held by temporary staff or reserved for other staff.

Starting from the March 2003 round, the survey coverage of the Quarterly Employment Survey of Construction Sites has been expanded to include

  1. electrical and mechanical manual workers;
  2. construction works under the School Improvement Programme of the Architectural Services Department; and
  3. those sites under the charge of the Electrical and Mechanical Services Department and the Environmental Protection Department.

Starting from March 2009 round of the SEV, the survey coverage has been expanded to include more economic activities in some of the industries due to the change in industrial classification. The industries concerned are in industry section H Transportation, storage, postal and courier services, industry section N Administrative and support services and industry sections P - S Social and personal services.

Statistical Classifications

Title
Release Date

Glossary of Terms

Term
Definition
Civil service / Civil servants
Civil servants refer to persons who are employed on civil service terms of appointment as at the survey reference date.
Construction site
Construction site refers to a demarcated locality where one or more stages of construction work are being carried on.
Employment / Persons engaged
Figures on employment / persons engaged include : (i) individual proprietors, partners and persons having family ties with any of the proprietors or partners and working in the establishment without regular pay, who are actively engaged in the work of the establishment for at least 1 hour on the survey reference date; (ii) full-time salaried personnel/employees directly paid by the establishment and working directors of limited companies, both permanent and temporary, who are either at work (whether or not in Hong Kong) or temporarily absent from work (viz. those on sick leave, maternity leave, annual vacation or casual leave, and on strike) on the survey reference date; and (iii) part-time employees and employees on night/irregular shifts working for at least 1 hour on the survey reference date.
Establishment
Establishment is defined as an economic unit which engages, under a single ownership or control, in one or predominantly one kind of economic activity at a single physical location, e.g. an individual factory, workshop, retail shop or office.
Hong Kong Standard Industrial Classification (HSIC)
Hong Kong Standard Industrial Classification (HSIC) is a statistical classification framework for classifying economic units into industry classes based on their major activities.
Manual workers at construction sites
Manual workers at construction sites refer to skilled, semi-skilled and general workers working at those sites on the survey reference date.
Percentile hourly wage
Percentile hourly wage figures are useful in discerning the distribution of hourly wage of employees. The pth percentile hourly wage is the hourly wage value which delineates the lowest p% of all the employees concerned, where p can be any integer value from 1 to 99. For instance, the 10th percentile hourly wage is the hourly wage value that delineates the lowest 10% of the employees. The 25th percentile, 50th percentile and 75th percentile hourly wages are also known as the lower quartile, median and upper quartile hourly wages respectively.
Vacancies
Vacancies refer to unfilled job openings which are immediately available, and for which active recruitment steps are being taken on the survey reference date. However, vacancies at construction sites include only those vacancies of manual workers.