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Sign of the times – grads scramble for cover

2017-January-11       Source: Chinadaily.com.cn

It seems the days of university graduates cherry-picking jobs or walking out on their bosses without even batting an eyelid are over.

Fresh university graduates in Hong Kong now want greater job security and feel more optimistic about their future careers, according to the results of the latest survey by jobs portal jobsDB released on Monday. (Photo by Parker Zheng / China Daily)

Fresh university graduates in Hong Kong now want greater job security and feel more optimistic about their future careers, according to the results of the latest survey by jobs portal jobsDB released on Monday. (Photo by Parker Zheng / China Daily)

Poll shows economic woes put stop to graduates' job hopping habits and security reigns

It seems the days of university graduates cherry-picking jobs or walking out on their bosses without even batting an eyelid are over.

As dark clouds continue to hover over the world economic scene, the prospect of being shown the door has become ominous for graduates, who now want greater job security, according to the latest survey by jobsDB – the largest employment recruitment portal in the Asia Pacific region.

A greater number of Hong Kong's university graduates in 2016 were inclined to stay put in their jobs for more than three years compared with their peers the previous year, as economic uncertainty forced them to treasure work stability, according to the poll.

More than 40 percent of those interviewed said they would like to be with the same company for more than three years – up from about 20 percent in 2015 - says the "Survey on the Employment Status of Hong Kong's Tertiary Students 2016".

Twenty seven percent of those polled said they planned to stay even longer -- between three and five years.

The conclusion was based on the views of 757 graduates and undergraduates from various fields of study in the SAR.

Despite the apprehension over losing their jobs, the bleak economic outlook did not seem to have dampened students' outlook on their future careers. According to the survey, 71 percent of the undergraduates polled were optimistic about their careers -- higher than the 60 percent recorded in 2015.

The optimism was partly attributed to higher average salaries offered to 2016 graduates, with fresh graduates receiving an average monthly salary of HK$14,685, compared with HK$13,413 in 2015.

The three most popular job sectors among graduates were accounting, advertising/PR/marketing services, and the civil service, with preferences of 20 percent, 11 percent and 10 percent, respectively.

"The results of the survey speak for themselves. With the right conditions, employers can expect to retain many fresh graduates for three years or more. However, they can do even better if they take steps to reduce work-related stress and worries about careers, for example, by focusing on career development and training," said Justin Yiu, general manager of Jobs DB Hong Kong Ltd.

"Being the most popular sectors, it may be easier for organizations offering accounting and advertising/PR/marketing services, as well as the civil service, to attract good graduates. As for other industries, human resources managers could look at what graduates value most when choosing jobs."

For Hong Kong graduates, pay and benefits are the most important factors, followed by room to develop their interest, company environment, culture and reputation, job security and stability, career development and on-the-job training, the survey shows.

Apart from boosting starting salaries, enterprises have to consider developing better employer branding, and fostering a work culture and environment that would appeal to young people so as to capture and retain top quality talent in the long term, said Yiu.

Compared with Hong Kong graduates who put stability and traditional industries as their priorities, their counterparts in Guangdong province tend to adopt a more aggressive attitude in their work.

According to a recent report by the province's Department of Education, an increasing number of graduates in Guangdong has chosen to set up their own careers in emerging industries, such as information and environmental protection.

Among 505,438 students who received their graduation certificates last year, 3,261 went on to become entrepreneurs. More than 500 of them picked emerging industries, taking up 15.7 percent - 4.21 percentage points higher than the previous year's.

Editor: Chan

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