60 per cent of Hong Kong graduates postpone job seeking for a range of reasons.

Graduates receive average monthly salary of $16.7K.

A survey from jobsDB entitled “Employment Status of Hong Kong’s Tertiary Students 2019 Survey” has found fresh graduates receive an average monthly salary of HK$16,692 in their first job, similar to the 2018 average of $16,892. In terms of job functions, medical services ($23,472), engineering ($19,122) and public/civil/social services ($18,991) are the highest paid industries, while “digital Marketing/e-commerce/social media” pays the lowest average salary ($13,380). This year’s respondents expect a higher salary in their first job, and 59 per cent aim for over $16K, which is higher than 49 per cent in 2018.

The survey canvassed the opinions of 816 local graduates and undergraduates, from September to October this year, and revealed that “salary and benefits” (26 per cent) and “career development and on-the-job training” (19 per cent) are still the top two priorities when choosing their first job. Besides work-life balance, the new workforce also places greater emphasis on flexible working. Around 14 per cent of respondents were unwilling to work overtime and almost a quarter (23 per cent) prefer their first job to offer “flexible working hours”. Other observations include 14 per cent preferring to “early leave on Friday at least once a month”, 13 per cent  wishing to “leave early for festive days” and dress in “causal wear every day”, and 9 per cent wish to “work from home”. In fact, according to the earlier jobsDB “Hiring, Compensation & Benefits Survey”, some employers in Hong Kong are already adopting flexible working arrangements, with 24 per cent of them allowing staff to work from home in certain circumstances. Therefore, fresh graduates can check if their preferred companies offer these policies.

 

70 per cent of undergraduates plan to look for a full-time job, but nearly 60 per cent of fresh graduates postpone job searches

The survey found that 70 per cent of unemployed and current students would like to take a full-time job after graduation, a slight increase from 63 per cent in 2018, and 13 per cent prefer to look for a part-time job, or become a slasher or freelancer, which is similar to last year’s findings. Those who plan to have a working holiday dropped from 6 per cent in 2018 to 3 per cent in 2019, indicating that local university students have begun to lose interest in working holidays and are looking for more practical full-time positions that offer promising futures, instead.

With the drastic change in the economy and social environment this year, the survey also explored if respondents plan to postpone job seeking, and uncovered that 57 per cent of fresh graduates do in fact delay job searches, mainly because the “salary offered is lower than expected” (12 per cent) and partly due to “social instability” (7 per cent).

 

Government jobs are first choice mainly due to stability and steady salary increments

The most favoured industry among respondents is “Government & Public Organisation” (16 per cent), a pattern that has existed since this survey started four years ago. This industry is twice as popular as “Banking” (8 per cent) and even more so than “Financial Services” (7 per cent). The survey found that over 60 per cent of respondents have applied or will apply for government jobs, reflecting that those positions are still in high demand among local university students. However, the reasons given for applying or preparing to apply for government jobs were “regular working hours” and “stable salary increment” (both 42 per cent), with only 3 per cent of respondents driven by a desire to serve society. For the 40 per cent of respondents who will not apply, 28 per cent of them are affected by “social reputation drops”, which is also the biggest reason to discourage these young elites from working for the government.

 

30 per cent of respondents want to work overseas, and migration plans are the biggest incentive

Meanwhile, 30 per cent of graduates and undergraduates want to work outside Hong Kong, and “European countries” are their top targets (9 per cent), followed by “Asian countries” (8 per cent) and “USA / Canada” (5 per cent). For those who want to work abroad, most are “planning migration” (29 per cent), “like the culture of the country” (23 per cent) and see “good economic development” (14 per cent), uncovering that the migration trend not only involves people with more work experience, but also young people who see their jobs as a stepping stone to leaving the place where they grew up to look for opportunities. If this trend prevails, the loss of local young elites will speed up and cause labour shortage in some industries.

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