Collaboration is key to success in the Greater Bay Area community, LinkedIn and Tsinghua University research finds

February 25, 2019, HONG KONG – As China strives to build world-class city clusters and compete globally, LinkedIn, the world’s largest professional network, has teamed up with Tsinghua University to release the “Digital Economy and Talent Development Report for Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area”, which analyzes the talent landscape, talent migration flows and skill demands in the Greater Bay Area (GBA) [1].


With the recently released “Greater Bay Area Development Blueprint”, China has set a clear goal of integrating over 67 million residents into a global innovation and technology hub with a combined economy of over USD1 trillion. When the GBA is expected to become an innovation and finance powerhouse, different cities have to cooperate with each other by leveraging their own advantage to benefit the entire GBA community.


Given the development and the rising trend of digital transformation of the Greater Bay Area, talent has become the backbone of the digital economy with increasing importance. Yanping Wang, Head of Public Policy and Government Affairs at LinkedIn China, said “With the unparalleled advantage in workforce big data, we explored talent diversity, talent mobility and skills in demand within the Greater Bay Area, based on LinkedIn Economic Graph. Many of our members are professionals in the R&D, management, technology and business sector, who are essentially the core part of digital economy talent pool.”


Talent distribution in cities has different features, Shenzhen, Hong Kong and Guangzhou are top hubs of digital talents


High level talents and digital talents are mainly found in Shenzhen, Hong Kong and Guangzhou, with Shenzhen as the top hub. The report finds that Shenzhen (35%), Hong Kong (25%) and Guangzhou (23%) have the highest percentage of digital talent in the GBA, but each in different areas of expertise. Hong Kong is the strongest in Finance, whereas Shenzhen and Guangzhou lead in Computer network & Hardware, and Software & IT Services respectively.


With regards to education background, talents in the Greater Bay Area graduate from prestigious universities with diverse backgrounds. Over 25% talents have overseas learning experience and more than 30% have master degrees and above. When it comes to fields of study, financial studies rank among the top, consistent with the Greater Bay Area’s status as the global financial hub. Technical fields of study such as Computer Science, Electrical and Electronic Engineering are also in the lead, suggesting sound educational groundwork has been made for ICT growth.


Talent flow highlights Shenzhen’s important position in the Greater Bay Area


The report also looked into talent mobility as an indicator of fostering collaboration among different cities. In terms of talent flow within the Greater Bay Area, Shenzhen is the most attractive city to high level talents and digital talents, with inflow to outflow ratios standing at 1.79 and 1.92 respectively. Other cities have net outflows, meaning that talents gravitate towards Shenzhen (refer to Graph 1).


The report reveals that the digital talent inflow and outflow between Hong Kong and Shenzhen are the highest among the eight cities surveyed[1] in the area. In Shenzhen, around 60% of the digital talent inflow is from Hong Kong, at the same time, over 67% of Shenzhen’s digital talent chose to go to Hong Kong. However, talent mobility between Hong Kong and other cities in the GBA are comparatively low. For instance, in Guangzhou, only 31% of digital professional inflow is from Hong Kong, and only 22% of Guangzhou talent sought career opportunities in Hong Kong.


It is also found that almost 80% of Hong Kong digital talent inflow are international professionals, while for Shenzhen, more than half are from within China, indicating the two cities are key to foster exchange of knowledge from China and international talent (refer to Graph 2).


The rise of digital economy has brought new demand for skills


Within the GBA, the jobs with the highest growth for digital talent are Solution Architect, Business Director and Head of Business Development, and the skills with the highest growth are Search Engine Optimization, Public Speaking and programming language Python (refer to Table 1).


Looking at industries, ICT industry has a digital talent penetration of over 80%, suggesting a sound foundation of the digital economy. On the other hand, among industries that are becoming more digital, level of digital penetration of manufacturing industry is higher, indicating the position of the area as high-tech manufacturing center (refer to Graph 3).


Beyond digital skills, soft skills like project managements are also in demand.  For example, the report found that account managers and project managers are among the most demanded jobs in key industries in the region such as Manufacturing, Software & IT services and Finance (refer to Table 1).


By analyzing talent features and strengths of the Greater Bay Area and its core cities, the report paves the way for promoting its internal cooperation and integration and seeking the best model for talent concentration and flows. Furthermore, the report also benchmarks against world-famous bay areas in an effort to help local governments to plan for talent cultivation, build core talent competitiveness and help the Greater Bay Area become world-class leaders in talent development.


[1] Cities surveyed include Hong Kong, Shenzhen, Guangzhou, Macao, Zhuhai, Huizhou, Foshan and Dongguan.




Inflow to outflow ratios of high-level talent and digital talent in the GBA (Graph 1)



Digital talent inflow in the GBA (Graph 2)


Top 10 jobs and skills with the highest demand growth in the GBA (Table 1)



Digitalization degree of talent in the major industries in the GBA (Graph 3)


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