Forecasting the demand for construction skills in Hong Kong

Ping Chuen Chan, Yat Hung Chiang, Stephen W.k. Mak, Lennon H.t. Choy, M. W.W. James

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


Efficient manpower planning has been recognized as a critical aspect for the development of an economy. In 2001, the Works Bureau of the Hong Kong SAR Government (predecessor of Environment, Transport and Works Bureau) commissioned an HKPolyU consultancy team to develop a computerbased model to estimate the demand for different categories of construction personnel. This article presents the concept and features of the manpower demandforecasting model developed for the construction industry of Hong Kong. The forecasting model is formulated on the basis of the labour multiplier approach by deriving the relationship between the number of workers required and the project expenditure in the given project duration. Multipliers for 61 project types were derived for 38 labour trades using completed project data. The labour demand by occupation for each project can then be estimated by multiplying the corresponding multipliers and the estimated project expenditure. Several unique features of the model have been developed, including “normalization” and “contract cost adjustment factor”. Normalizing the labour multipliers can facilitate the prediction of occupational labour requirements at different stages of a construction project. The adjustment factor is introduced to eliminate the discrepancy between the original estimates and final contract values so as to enhance the estimation accuracy. The model can also be used to predict the number of jobs created for a given level of investment. The government can apply this model to check and compare which project types will generate most jobs before committing public money. This model could be easily adopted and adapted by foreign construction authorities while planning manpower.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3-19
Number of pages17
JournalConstruction Innovation
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2006


  • Forecasting model
  • Hong Kong
  • Manpower demand
  • Manpower forecasting
  • The construction industry

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • General Computer Science
  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Architecture
  • Building and Construction


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