EMSD's response on manpower situation of lift trade

In response to media enquiries on the manpower situation of the lift trade, the Electrical and Mechanical Services Department (EMSD) said today (March 21) that the current number of competent workers and registered engineers of lifts and escalators are 4,960 and 294 respectively.

In recent years, the number of lifts in Hong Kong has grown steadily from about 55,300 in 2005 to about 60,000 in 2012, with the total increase of about 4,700 or an average growth rate of about 1.2% per annum.  From 2010 to 2012, the number increased by 1,200 with an average growth rate of about 1% per annum.  

On manpower side, according to the information from the registered contractors, 45 registered contactors provided training to about 450 new entrants in the past three years.   Upon completion of training, about 90% of them have continued to work in the lift and escalator trade.  Apart from this, the Vocational Training Council (VTC) has been providing relevant craft courses for the lift trade to attract new entrants.  In the past three years, about 120 people have completed the courses and entered into the lift trade.  At the same time, some workers retired or changed jobs leaving the lift trade.  Overall, the number of competent workers of lifts and escalators has remained steady and had a slight increase in the past few years.  Up to February 2013, there are about 5,000 competent workers in Hong Kong to serve about 60,000 lifts and 8,200 escalators.

Regarding a media report that the number of lifts in Hong Kong in the past eight years increased from 47,000 in 2005 to 59,800 in 2012, with an increase of over 10,000, it is noted that the 2005 baseline figure quoted in the report had not taken into account about 8,000 lifts of the Government and the Housing Authority when it was compared with the 2012 figure which, on the other hand, included the number of lifts of the Government and the Housing Authority, leading to an error in the comparison.  If including the 8,000 lifts of the Government and the Housing Authority in the baseline figure of 2005 for comparison, the actual increase is about 4,000 or an average growth rate of about 1.2% per annum as mentioned above.

Although the annual number of lifts increased slightly and it would not cause too much pressure on the overall manpower demand, the Government has been implementing several measures, including strengthening the training and improving the working conditions, to attract new entrants to the trade.

To increase the manpower for the trade, the Construction Industry Council will introduce the Contractor Cooperative Training Scheme for the electrical and mechanical trade of the construction industry (including lift mechanics and escalator mechanics) and provide training allowance to those students who intend to join the ranks of electrical and mechanical apprentices after completing VTC's basic craft courses in electrical and mechanical engineering.  

For improving working conditions, the EMSD has been working with the trade to review and update the Code of Practice for Lift Works and Escalator Works (CoP) in the light of the latest developments in the industry and with a view to raising the requirements on working conditions.  For instance, the CoP has recently introduced a new provision that required contractors to assess and confirm that the environmental factors inside the lift shaft, such as temperature, ventilation, lightings, are suitable before commencing works.

Ends/Thursday, March 21, 2013
Issued at HKT 21:30