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A picture of Hong Kong: student protests and job prospects

jobAs the students of Hong Kong march for better voting rights and autonomy from China, they’re missing out on the education that could gain them a job in the future.

Indeed, with youth employment decreasing, the need for effective education is higher than ever, especially with a so-called brain drain facing the country.

However, the region might be facing a problem even more crippling to the job market – an oversupply of graduates.

While everyone having a degree might seem like a good thing, it’s actually causing fierce competition for jobs, leading to a decrease in satisfation for workers.

Professor at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University Chung Kim-wah said of the job market, “The over-supply of graduates has generated very keen competition for jobs, mounting pressure on the graduates who have no working experience.

“Seeing supply exceed demand, some employers offered lower wages to hire the graduates and therefore dragged down the salaries of university graduates and associate degree holders in recent years.”

The success of the locals

This, combined with recent political unrest, might paint a seemingly bleak picture for the graduate job market, but it’s not all struggles and misery.

The reliability on expats is, for instance, decreasing in the country, narrowing the talent pool to a more local basis. Meanwhile, the requirement for native mandarin speakers has risen to around 80 per cent on a number of job search sites, essentially blocking non-native speakers from Europe and the US.

Recruitment consultant Christine Wright said, “Lots of young Asians who went abroad to work or study are now coming back. They are eager, multilingual and have overseas experience and education — they fit many employers’ bills perfectly.”

Employment agencies have also increased their prominence in the area. Providing graduates and lower skilled workers alike with opportunities, the best of these sites are pairing up candidates with employers with easy-to-use interfaces and an understanding of specific employer requirements.

Unrest and instability

However, the current unrest regarding Hong Kong’s control of its region away from Beijing could set the employment market spinning out of control.

Comprising a large number of students, the protests against mainland China have the potential to spark a number of acts of civil disobedience that will plunge one of China’s central hubs of banking into disarray.

Law professor at the University of Hong Kong Michael Davis said, “The democrats will simply have to go to the streets now,” adding that leaders in Beijing are “offering the kind of democracy where they get to vet the candidates, and that is unacceptable to a lot of people here.”

Ultimately, the employment market for students will partially be hinged on what direction these protests take. But with a strong degree and the help from recruitment experts, the job market will open up before you.

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