60pc of uni students put in bay jobs hunt

Leopold Chen

More than 60 percent of tertiary students in Hong Kong are willing to work in the mainland as there are more opportunities, a survey by the Greater Bay Area Education Resources Center has found.

That came in a poll of 552 students between May 8 and June 8, with 60 percent of respondents expressing concern about their employment prospects amid pessimism about the job market.

The major reasons why respondents were willing to work in the mainland were they believed there are more job opportunities and favorable policies for Hongkongers, while there are fewer job opportunities in the SAR.

The students believed they did not have sufficient support from the SAR government in terms of employment, entrepreneurship and internships.

Less than 25 percent said they are satisfied with the Chief Executive-elect John Lee Ka-chiu’s policies for youths.

Around 36 percent felt indifferent toward these policies, 32 percent did not pay attention and 7 percent felt dissatisfied.

Just under 40 percent indicated that the Hong Kong government had devoted enough resources to provide internship opportunities.

However, these results were strikingly different from another survey by youth issues think tank MWYO last year, as it found that only 12.5 percent of Hong Kong youngsters were willing to work full-time in the Greater Bay Area.

The think tank commissioned the Chinese University of Hong Kong’s Institute of Asia-Pacific Studies for the survey, which polled 1,002 Hongkongers aged 18-34 from May to July 2021.

Suen Lap-man, director of human resources firm Watson Consultancy, said he has reservations about the 60 percent result found by the Greater Bay Area Education Resources Centre.

“Changes in one year should not be that dramatic,” he said, “although the trend is there for Hong Kong youngsters to choose to work in the mainland.

“The survey tools and sampling methods might have affected the results,” I added.

Suen said more youngsters might now consider the mainland as the impact of the 2019 social unrest has been mitigated, but the inability to use certain social media platforms across the border, stringent anti-Covid measures and linguistic barriers might prove to be a deterrence.

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