36% of young Hongkongers not working or studying have no interest in finding jobs: poll

Asia World

“Homemakers aged 30 to 49 were inclined to enter into employment, but most of them are only looking for part-time jobs,” the board wrote.

“People who have recently retired were less inclined to work, while young people who are neither in employment nor in education were the least motivated.”

The study found that 36.1 per cent of young people who were not employed or studying had no plans to find jobs, with the prospect of good salary and benefits, work-from-home arrangements and flexible working hours only incentivising some to consider taking up work.

Among recent retirees, 60.9 per cent expressed no interest in working. But some of the elderly residents said good salaries and perks, stress-free duties and support from jobseeker organisations could encourage them to work.

The paper did not provide a detailed breakdown of the interviewee demographics.

The Post has reached out to the organisation for more information.

In the Legco paper, the board also wrote that there was a mismatch between the demand for workers with technical skills and training courses, appraisal systems and work situations.

The board highlighted the importance of technology-based skills, saying: “It is also necessary to include skills on software development or programming, artificial intelligence, big data analysis and other higher-end skills in accordance with market demand.”

Alexa Chow Yee-ping, managing director of AMAC Human Resources Consultants, said the survey might not reflect the overall picture of work ambition among young people, since it focused on those not working or studying.

“If this group of people is in a constant state of idleness, it’s not surprising that one-third of them have no intention to work,” she said. “If the survey targeted those about to finish university and yielded the same result, that will be a huge issue.”

The board also highlighted the importance of cultivating technology-based skills. Photo: Shutterstock
But Chow also noted a trend where young Hongkongers were no longer desperate to work, thanks to a wealthier society, and faced less financial pressure due to coming from smaller families.

She advised employers to consider whether they could accommodate young people’s preferences for more flexible hours and work-from-home arrangements, while offering more leave, training and providing a hi-tech work environment.

“From the perspective of the government, it’s also lost subsidies, because many students will have been supported by the government in their education who are now not working, meaning they are not taxpayers,” Chow said.

Rennie Wong Man-shun from the Hong Kong Federation of Youth Groups’ Youth Employment Network said more details about the survey were needed to fully understand the results, such as the age range of “young people” in the study and the questions asked by interviewers.

“Many young people have chosen to not have a full-time job, but multiple part-time jobs, as a ‘slasher’, which can involve longer working hours than a full-time job,” he said.

Wong said that many young people wanted a choice when it came to their work duties, rather than being assigned them by managers, while also seeking more flexible working arrangements.

But he noted that a person’s ability to work negatively correlated with the amount of time they spent away from employment, especially if they stayed at home without contact with other people.

“They could gradually lose their ability to communicate or other skills that you will only pick up if you are in the workforce. We’re worried about this,” he said.

Hong Kong’s unemployment rate stood at 3 per cent between March and May, unchanged from the figure recorded for February to April.