Youth I.D.E.A.S. 62
Navigating Career Opportunities for Young People
1 August, 2021
The employment situation of Hong Kong’s young people has been drawing public attention. It is worth looking at how young people’s employment opportunities can be opened up so that their career development choices can be broadened in order to cope with future economic development trends.
Hong Kong is an important financial centre and commercial hub in the world, attracting enterprises of different capital backgrounds. Among them, enterprises from mainland China have been gradually increasing since the 1980s. In recent years, investments from mainland China have grown vigorously and become a significant stakeholder in Hong Kong’s economy.
According to the survey of the Census and Statistics Department, the number of enterprises in Hong Kong with parent companies in mainland China jumped from 805 in 2011 to 1,986 in 2020. The proportion of the total by country represented also increased during that period, from 11.6% to 22.0%, surpassing Japanese and American enterprises and becoming the highest of all countries in the business community. According to the figures of The Hong Kong Chinese Enterprises Association, as of the end of 2017, the number of mainland Chinese enterprises in Hong Kong was estimated to be at least 4,300, with assets of approximately HK$11 trillion and 90,000 employees. At present, these enterprises cover various industries such as large-scale banking, finance, insurance, shipping, petroleum and petrochemical, telecommunications, construction, aviation, steel, tourism, transportation, information technology, and legal, among others. It has brought many job opportunities.
Hiring in mainland Chinese enterprises is more aggressive, even in the midst of the pandemic, since they are still expanding. However, compared with other enterprises, more mainland Chinese enterprises employ part-time or temporary staff since they fail to attract enough qualified full-time staff. In addition, although mainland Chinese enterprises are willing to pay higher salaries in order to attract or retain staff, they still face challenges in hiring in Hong Kong due to unsuitable cultural fit.
Many mainland Chinese enterprises are interested in recruiting Hong Kong youths because the latter have international perspectives and strong teamwork skills, as well as good language ability, professionalism, and reliability. But Hong Kong youths are observed to have a lack of understanding and trust in the mainland, resulting in a gap between job supply and demand. If the current situation continues, it will bring unnecessary limitations and obstacles to their career choices.
In view of the above, this study aims to broaden career choices and opportunities for young people in Hong Kong by exploring the factors contributing to the above gap and giving constructive opinions.
Through an on-site youth survey, this study seeks to understand the employment attitudes of working youths and their views on corporate culture. It tries to understand the work experience of young people who have worked or are working in mainland Chinese enterprises in Hong Kong through in-depth interviews, as well as their views on career development and opportunities, and their feelings and expectations regarding corporate culture. Furthermore, it tries to understand mainland Chinese enterprises’ demand for Hong Kong staff, the remunerations and development opportunities they can offer, their staffs’ adaptation to corporate culture, and the strengths and weaknesses of young employees in Hong Kong. By synthesising this information, this study will make suitable analyses and recommendations.
This study uses data collected through three methods during the period from May to June 2021: an on-site survey of 520 working youths aged 18-34, case interviews with 20 young people who have worked or are working in mainland Chinese enterprises in Hong Kong, and interviews with five experts.
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