Hong Kong Chief Secretary Matthew Cheung said new university graduates should not be picky when seeking jobs and should even consider dishwashing as valuable work experience.
At an online forum held on Saturday by the Youth Development Commission to discuss employment policies for young people, a recent history graduate from the Chinese University of Hong Kong said she sent out her resume 70 times since November but has not received any responses. Cheung, chair of the commission, replied that he did not believe those who studied liberal arts faced more difficulties finding jobs.
Cheung said employers consider attitude as being the most important factor when hiring, adding that young people should lower their expectations in order to chase their dreams.
“Even dishwashing is a kind of work experience,” he said. “Having a difficult work experience on your resume may impress employers, who may think you are self-motivated.”
The government will hire 10,000 civil servants this year mostly in entry-level positions, said Cheung. Internships will also be increased to 5,000, and the anti-epidemic fund has earmarked HK$6 billion (US$774 million) for young people to find jobs and start their businesses, Cheung said.
At the same forum, the labour and welfare secretary, Law Chi-kwong, said young people should be brave and try new things. He cited himself as an example, saying that while he never studied computers, his first job out of university was working at HSBC’s computer department.
Hong Kong’s unemployment rate is at 6.1%. The unemployment rate for those between 15 and 29 is much higher at 22.1%, while the rate for those between 20 and 24 is 16.2%. Asked what the government can do to help young people, Law said they should not feel too pessimistic because unemployment rates of young people around the world were three to four times higher than those in Hong Kong.
“The youth unemployment rate in Hong Kong isn’t that high,” he said.
Law added that young people should study more to enrich themselves, such as by joining the Youth Pre-employment Training Programme for young school-leavers aged 15 to 24.
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