Youths reluctant to take mainland jobs

Although teenagers agreed there are more job opportunities in the Greater Bay Area and Hainan, only a small number would consider working there due to family and cultural reasons, according to a think tank spearheaded by Lau Ming-wai.

MWYO, an independent think tank focused on youth issues, yesterday published its seventh issue of Youth Beige – a journal that gathers the views of young people – which asked the Hong Kong youth about their views on working in the mainland, including in the Greater Bay Area.

“Young people have a tangled relationship with the mainland,” the report said, with more details to be released today.

“They agree that the mainland offers huge development potential and there is a need for preserving and inheriting the traditional Chinese culture,” it said. “However, they put their families, friends and cultural factors first.”

One interviewee, a public relations officer, said that while there will be more opportunities in the Greater Bay Area, “my family is in Hong Kong, therefore I prefer to stay here as of now.”

A university student majoring in computer sciences also said that he would rather stay in Hong Kong as he is afraid it will be very difficult for him to find his dream job in the Greater Bay Area given that he has no connections there.

The survey also revealed that exchange programs to the mainland failed to increase young people’s interest in a career in the Greater Bay Area as the majority of them said they could only see the cities briefly during the tours.

One of the interviewees who had organized exchange tours to the mainland said the tour itineraries were relatively packed as mainland travel agencies want visitors to see many attractions in the city.

“This sacrifices the chance of having a more in-depth understanding of the local customs,” he said. He suggested young people from Hong Kong take a more proactive approach and ask more questions during the tours.

Some interviewees even felt more reluctant to move to the mainland after the tours.

One of the university students interviewed said he did not want to move to the mainland after learning about the workplace culture, including the strict boss-employee relations.

The government had sponsored 319 mainland exchange programs – organized by non-governmental organizations – between 2018 and 2019, 52 of which were tours to nine Greater Bay Area cities which attracted around 4,000 young people.

Angus Chan Yu-him, one of the researchers of the think tank, said the majority of Hong Kong youths do appreciate certain parts of the mainland thanks to the heavy promotion.

“However, the positive feedback is not enough to motivate them to move to the mainland,” he said.

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