Concerns for young people’s career pursuit

Concerns for young people’s career pursuit

Hong Kong (HKSAR) –      Following is a question by the Hon Martin Liao and a written reply by the Secretary for Labour and Welfare, Dr Law Chi-kwong, in the Legislative Council today (May 2): Question:      The findings of a survey on career aspirations of Hong Kong and Taiwan university students, published recently by the City University of Hong Kong (CityU), have aroused concerns among some members of the community about the issue of the relatively narrower and greater uniformity of Hong Kong university students’ career path choices.  It has been reported that the survey has found that most young people wish to look for their future jobs according to their interest.  However, as in reality quite a number of the industries concerned offer relatively low salaries coupled with uncertain prospect of advancement, the young people may, out of practical considerations, end up choosing to join the civil service that offers a high pay with good fringe benefits, as indicated in the survey’s findings that more than half (50.2 per cent) of Hong Kong university students aspire to become civil servants after graduation.  On the other hand, among the Hong Kong respondents, 62 per cent indicated that they would consider leaving Hong Kong to work elsewhere and such percentage was far lower than that of about 82 per cent of the Taiwan university students who indicated that they would consider developing their career overseas.  Also, when compared with the nearly 46 per cent of the respondents in Taiwan indicating a willingness to develop their career in Mainland China, only 28 per cent of those in Hong Kong were willing to do so.  On individual entrepreneurial aspirations, over 66 per cent of the respondents in Taiwan had thoughts of starting up a business, but only about 42 per cent of those in Hong Kong had such thoughts.  Given that the Government is doing its best in work relating to young people’s concerns about their education, career pursuit and home ownership, and encouraging their participation in politics as well as public policy discussion and debate, will the Government inform this Council:

(1) whether it knows the aspirations in the past three years of Hong Kong’s university students and other young people studying in school in areas such as career choices, pursuing career development outside Hong Kong and starting up businesses; if so, please set out the details, including (i) the types of jobs that they aspired to take up and the relevant numbers and percentages of such people, (ii) the number and percentage of those who considered pursuing career development outside Hong Kong and the places outside Hong Kong that they considered leaving Hong Kong for to pursue career development, and (iii) the number and percentage of those who considered starting up a business;

(2) whether it knows the actual situations in the past three years of Hong Kong’s university graduates and young people with other academic qualifications in areas such as career choices, pursuing career development outside Hong Kong and starting up businesses; if so, please set out the details, including (i) the types of jobs that they took up and the relevant numbers and percentages of such people, (ii) the number and percentage of those who pursued career development outside Hong Kong and the places outside Hong Kong that they left Hong Kong for to pursue career development, and (iii) the number and percentage of those who started up businesses; and

(3) whether it will take effective measures to address the concerns about Hong Kong young people’s career paths aroused by the aforesaid survey by CityU, and create favourable conditions, so that Hong Kong young people can truly make more diversified career choices according to their interest and potentials and put to use what they have learnt, as well as facilitate them to broaden their horizons so that they will consider career development outside Hong Kong as a viable option, particularly in grasping the opportunities brought about by the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Bay Area as encouraged by the authorities; if so, of the details?

Reply: President,      Having consulted the relevant bureaux and the Census and Statistics Department (C&SD), our consolidated response to the question raised by the Member is set out below:

(1) and (2) According to C&SD, based on data obtained from the General Household Survey, there were 279 700, 277 600 and 264 900 employed persons aged 15 to 24 (excluding foreign domestic helpers) in 2015, 2016 and 2017 respectively, among which 700 (0.3 per cent), 600 (0.2 per cent), and 300 (0.1 per cent) were employers respectively.  The number of employed persons aged 15 to 24 (excluding foreign domestic helpers) by occupation in 2015 to 2017 is set out at Annex I.  C&SD does not compile statistics on the aspirations of Hong Kong’s university students and other young people attending school in areas such as career choices, pursuing career development outside Hong Kong and starting up businesses.      For local university graduates, according to the Education Bureau, the University Grants Committee (UGC)-funded universities conduct graduate employment surveys annually to collect employment information of the graduates of their full-time UGC-funded programmes.  Universities submit the survey results to the UGC Secretariat for reference within the first half of the following year.  Based on the results of the graduate employment surveys from 2014 to 2016, the employment statistics of local graduates of full-time UGC-funded undergraduate programmes are set out at Annex II.  UGC does not possess any information regarding the number and percentage of university graduates who started their own business or their aspirations in areas such as career choices, pursuing career development outside Hong Kong and starting up businesses.

(3) The Government attaches great importance to the career path of local youth and adopts multi-pronged measures, including: On supporting start-ups and facilitating creative industries      According to the Commerce and Economic Development Bureau:

(i) Creative industries are new industries and are providing careers that are popular among young people.  The current-term Government attaches great importance to their development, and has proposed to inject $1 billion into the CreateSmart Initiative (CSI) in fiscal year 2018-19 to strengthen the Government’s financial support for the seven specified creative sectors (namely, advertising, architecture, design, digital entertainment, printing and publishing, television and music) for implementation of projects that are conducive to their further development.

(ii) Of the new injection of $1 billion, no less than 50 per cent will be earmarked for projects related to the strategic focus of nurturing talents (especially for grooming young talents in different sectors) and facilitating start-ups.  For example, the Government will seek to expand the collaboration with different cities of design and creative sectors to identify more exchange opportunities for tertiary students.  The Government will work with industry stakeholders to support students or young practitioners for internships, exchange programmes, work placements or further studies in the Mainland or overseas.  CSI could also sponsor young practitioners’ participation in different local and international festivals and competitions to help broaden their exposure and enrich their experience, and provide platforms for them to explore business opportunities and showcase their talents.

(iii) The Bay Area Development presents valuable opportunities to creative industries in Hong Kong.  In 2018-19, the Government will support local industries to explore new markets in the Bay Area through CSI so as to further drive Hong Kong’s economic growth.

According to the Innovation and Technology Bureau, Cyberport has been supporting digital start-ups through its Smart-Space co-working space which is well-equipped with office facilities to enable start-ups to rent ready-built offices at an all-inclusive fixed monthly rental.  Through participation in the Space Sharing Scheme for Youth, Cyberport will set up a Smart-Space co-working space of around 20 000 square feet in an industrial building in Tsuen Wan for digital start-ups and young entrepreneurs at a concessionary rate of no higher than half of the market rental.  This Smart-Space co-working space is expected to start operation in the second quarter of 2018, housing a maximum of around 140 start-ups. On broadening horizons and career development in the Mainland and other economies      According to the Home Affairs Bureau (HAB):

(i) As stated in the Chief Executive’s Policy Address 2017, the Government is committed to providing more internship opportunities on the Mainland, in the Belt and Road countries and other parts of the world for our young people, with a view to enhancing their understanding of the work culture and career prospects in the Mainland and overseas, helping them set career development goals, gain more working experience and establish business networks, so as to enhance their competitiveness in employment in the future.

(ii) Starting from 2014-15, HAB has been organising the Funding Scheme for Youth Internship in the Mainland to provide more internship opportunities for young people in Hong Kong to work in Mainland enterprises and organisations.  The Scheme provides internship opportunities in a wide variety of industries, most of which are offered by well-established enterprises, spanning various provinces and major cities on the Mainland.  For 2018-19, it is estimated that about 3 600 Hong Kong young people will participate in the Scheme, including over 1 000 who will undertake internships in Guangdong and thus be able to know more about the opportunities available in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Bay Area.  Moreover, the Government launched the Pilot Scheme on Corporate Summer Internship on the Mainland and Overseas in March 2018.  Under the Pilot Scheme, 16 major Hong Kong enterprises will provide a total of 255 internship places in this summer.  These places span different provinces on the Mainland and seven overseas countries, covering a wide range of industries.

(iii) The Youth Development Commission (YDC), chaired by the Chief Secretary for Administration and with relevant Directors of Bureau as ex-officio members, has been established with effect from April 1, 2018.  It strives to promote cross-bureau and cross-department collaboration and address young people’s concerns about education, career pursuit and home ownership, and encourage their participation in politics as well as public policy discussion and debate.  At its first meeting held on April 24, 2018, YDC agreed that it would explore ways to facilitate young people’s career development and promote their upward mobility, for example through grasping opportunities arising from the development of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Bay Area.  YDC will closely liaise with relevant bureaux and stakeholders to take forward initiatives in the above priority policy areas.

To facilitate job seekers, particularly young people, to deepen their understanding of employment opportunities on the Mainland and find suitable jobs with a view to broadening their job choices, the Labour Department (LD) has, since 2015, organised nine large-scale job fairs with employment and vacancy information on the Mainland.  A total of 219 Mainland and local enterprises, offering more than 13 300 vacancies, participated in these nine job fairs.  Nearly 8 300 job seekers visited the events and among them, more than 80 per cent were young people with post-secondary education.      To provide more opportunities for Hong Kong youth to appreciate different cultures and the development of other economies, the Government has since 2001 established bilateral Working Holiday Scheme (WHS) arrangements with 13 economies, namely, New Zealand, Australia, Ireland, Germany, Japan, Canada, Korea, France, the United Kingdom, Austria, Hungary, Sweden and the Netherlands.  WHS enables young people aged 18 to 30 to gain living and working experience while travelling abroad.  WHS has been well received by Hong Kong youth.  So far, more than 85 000 Hong Kong youth have participated in WHS.

On career choice and seeking employment      LD operates two Youth Employment Resource Centres named Youth Employment Start (Y.E.S.), which provide personalised advisory and support services on employment and self-employment to young people aged 15 to 29.  Through a variety of services including career assessment and guidance, professional counselling, self-employment support, training on vocational skills and workshops on job search techniques, Y.E.S. encourages students and young people to make early and better career planning, and assists young people who aspire to self-employment in mapping out their career path.  Furthermore, to enhance the employability of young people, LD launches the Youth Employment and Training Programme in collaboration with training bodies and employers to provide a full range of pre-employment and on-the-job training, as well as career guidance and employment support services rendered by registered social workers to young school leavers aged 15 to 24 with educational attainment at sub-degree level or below.

Published on: 2018-05-02

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