Protests in Hong Kong shake the region's employment outlook as China struggles

On the heels of ongoing protests in Hong Kong in which citizens of the region were fighting the government’s highly unpopular extradition bill, the economy is taking a hit. According to Bloomberg, the protests have ended up driving away local shoppers and keeping tourists from mainland China from visiting. This, according to the article, could ultimately affect the industry and its employment opportunities.

According to the news service, the Hong Kong Retail Management Association said that many of its members reported drops in sales revenue during the protests. The “industry is worried that these events will damage Hong Kong’s international image as a safe city, a culinary capital, and a shopping heaven,” according to the association.

Meanwhile, economic prospects for mainland China are also looking bleak, especially with the looming U.S. trade war. In fact, the country’s economic growth slowed to its lowest in over 25 years, according to the Associated Press. The publication explains that “hopes for an early growth rebound faded after President Donald Trump raised tariffs on Chinese imports in May to turn up pressure on Beijing over the aggressive tactics it’s using to challenge American technological dominance.”

Meanwhile, to help soften the blow, Chinese leaders are boosting spending and also increasing bank lending, according to the Associated Press. The goal is to “keep growth within this year’s official target range of 6% to 6.5% and avert politically dangerous job losses.”

Beyond issues related to the ongoing protests in Hong Kong and a weakening mainland Chinese economy, Bloomberg also reported that the region’s expat bankers are finding themselves in trouble as well, especially in light of recent Deutsche Bank wide-ranging job cuts, according to the article. “Many recently laid-off bankers in the city are finding that cost-cutting and a demand for Mandarin speakers have diminished the opportunities for expats in Asia’s financial hub,” according to the news service.

Some are even saying pay cuts for these expat bankers in Hong Kong are likely. Take, for example, Will Glover, a Hong Kong-based managing director, who said some will need to earn less in order keep their job opportunities. “You get that volume of people anywhere into a market at one time and inevitably a lot of people will leave the market altogether,” Glover told Bloomberg. “There will not be enough opportunities to absorb all that supply.”