Knowledge Center

Women in the Labour Force in Hong Kong



In 1997, an agreement between China and the UK established that Hong Kong is a Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China. In this "one country, two systems," China’s socialist economy is not imposed on Hong Kong, and Hong Kong had autonomy from China in all areas except foreign and defense affairs for the next fifty years. 


  • In 2011, Hong Kong’s total population was 7,071,576. 

  • Hong Kong has the 6th oldest population in the world.  

    • The median age of Hong Kong’s population is 41.7 years old in 2011. 

      • The median age for women is 41.4 years old, and the median age for men is 42.0 years old. 

      • In 2001, the median age of Hong Kong’s population was 36.7 years old (36.5 years old for women and 36.9 years old for men).

    •  Between 1981 and 2011, the total population grew by 36%.  

      • During the same period, the number of women aged 65 and over increased by 145% while men increased by 215%. 

      • The sex ratio (number of males per 1000 females) has decreased from 1087 in 1981 to 876 in 2011 due to large number of women moving from mainland China, and the increase in numbers of women foreign domestic workers from abroad. 

    • Between 2001 and 2011, the total population grew by 5.4% 

      • The sex ratio in 2001 was 960 males per 1,000 females, and in 2011, the sex ratio decreased to 876 males per 1,000 females. 

Marriage and Family

  • In 2011,

    • 49.0% of women were married, 8.7% of women were widowed, 4.4% of women were divorced, 0.6% of women were separated, and 37.3% of women had never been married.  

    • 53.3% of men were married, 1.8% of men were widowed, 2.4% of men were divorced, 0.4% of men were separated, and 42.1% of men had never been married. 

  • Between 1986 and 2011, the number of women who had never been married increased by 60.8% while men had only a 15.5 % increase. 

  • In 2011, the labour force participation rate for never married women was 67.2%, compared to 46.8% for ever married women. 

  • The labour force participate rate in 2011 was 65.2% for never married men, versus 70.1% for ever married men.  


  • In 2011, the median age for first marriage for women was 28.9 years old while men’s median age was 31.2 years old. 


  • The median age of women for the birth of the first child was 30.0.  In 2010, fertility rate for a woman was 1.1(birth per woman). 

Labour Force

  • In 2011, 53.4% of women participated in labour force, compared to 67.0% of men. 

    • In 2001, 51.6% of women participated in the labour force, compared to 71.9% of men.



  •  In 2011, unemployment rate for women was 2.8%, compared to 4.0% of men. 

Monthly Earnings

  • In 2011, women’s median monthly employment earning was $9,300 while men earned $13,000.  Compared to women, higher percentage of men worked in occupations with higher monthly earnings such as managers, administrators, professionals and associate professionals.

Women on Boards

  • In 2012, women held 9.0% (57) of the 634 directorship positions on the corporate boards of Hong Kong’s top companies, as listed on the Hang Seng Index (HSI).  

    • This number has only increased by .1% since 2009.

  • The average age of women holding board positions in 2009 was 57.3 years old, compared to 59.9 years old for men board directors. 

Women’s Representation on Boards 2012 (HIS Companies)

Representation of women


Total directorships held by women


Women executive directorships


Women non-executive directorships


Companies with women executive directors


Companies with at least one woman director


Companies with multiple women directors


Companies with no women directors



Educational Achievement 

  • In 2011, women were 50.4% of all those enrolled in tertiary programs in Hong Kong. 

  • In 2011, men were 49.6% of all those enrolled in tertiary programs in Hong Kong.

  • Ratio of female to male tertiary enrollment in 2011 was 102%. 

  • Business and Commercial Studies was the most popular field of tertiary education for both women and men.   

    • Women make up 47.2% of MBA students in Hong Kong.  This is higher than the world average of 31.6%.

Political Participation 

  • In 2008, 11 out of 60 Hong Kong Legislative Council members were women. 

  • All 21 judges of the Court of Final Appeal are men.


  • In 2008, 46.0 % of women worked overtime regularly, compared to 72.9% of men.