Here’s what they’re looking for

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The cities in which they are most interested in working are Shenzhen (52.5%), followed by Guangzhou (19.4%).

Young people in Hong Kong are keenly seeking careers in the Greater Bay Area (GBA), and the three sectors they are most interested in are:

  1. Cultural and creative (17.9%),
  2. Financial services (17.6%),
  3. Technology and innovation (17.2%).

These are among the key findings of a survey conducted by HSBC and the Youth Research Center of the Hong Kong Federation of Youth Groups (HKFYG), titled The Competitiveness of Hong Kong Youth in the Greater Bay Areawhich sought feedback from 720 local college students who expressed an interest in developing their careers in the mainland cities of the Greater Bay Area (GBA).

What attracts these young people the most are career prospects (84.1%), market size (84.0%), social networks (70.7%) and training opportunities (70.4%). %) in the GRB. Meanwhile, the cities they are most interested in working in are Shenzhen (52.5%), followed by Guangzhou (19.4%).

Skills Required for GBA Employability

Respondents were asked to rate their own skills against a framework of five key skills to boost employability in GRB. On average, students display the highest confidence in their work ethics (8.38 out of 10), putonghua skills (8.04), and flexibility and adaptability to change (7.78), while ranking literacy numerical low (6.17).

An overwhelming majority of respondents (79.7%) agree that “the outlook for starting a business in GBA is positive”, with 90.1% acknowledging that scholarships and start-up funding are helpful in their development career in other GBA cities. However, challenges remain, with 70.9% of respondents believing that young people in Hong Kong are unaware of the opportunities in the GBA. Participants cite their main challenges as being the lack of networks in mainland China; competition for talents from the continent; and a misunderstanding of the continental justice system.

When asked how young people could better seize GBA opportunities, the following ideas were shared:

  1. 63.9% of respondents are willing to participate in GBA-based work experience programs or internships.
  2. Respondents also point to a desire to understand industry perspectives (51.4%),
  3. Another two in five (41.3%) are willing to participate in GBA knowledge exchange activities, workshops or programs.

The opinions of 16 GBA experts, academics and employers were also solicited for this study. Together, they believe that the relatively strong English skills of young people in Hong Kong, combined with their global outlook, could improve the service quality of mainland businesses and help these businesses open doors to international markets.

However, competition for jobs is intense in the GBA and Hong Kong is not the only source of talent for employers. Increase their employment prospects, young people in Hong Kong will need to improve their professional skills and develop a good understanding of GBA industry planning, policies and prospects. The expert panel suggests that young people interested in working in other GBA cities should target the industries and cities that suit them best. They should also view work experience on the continent as a step in their career development, using the GBA experience to enrich their CV and advance their career path.

Daniel Chan, Head of Greater Bay Area, HSBC, noted that since the announcement of the ACS development framework in 2017, economic policies and infrastructure projects have brought closer cooperation between Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macao. He added: “At present, more than 85,100 residents of Hong Kong and Macau have registered for employment in Guangdong. If Hong Kong is to take full advantage of this, it is essential that our next generation acquires a direct understanding of the full breadth and depth of GBA economics.”

In response to the study, Angela Ngai Mei-mui, Deputy Executive Director of HKFYG, suggested companies open up more internship opportunities and consider job rotations between GBA cities to increase their competitiveness. She also recommended creating e-learning platforms to cover essential skills and personality traits for employment in the GBA. In the long run, these courses should be mutually recognized by Hong Kong and the mainland to ensure quality control and encourage participation.

Picture / 123RF

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