20 JAN, 2022
“Greater Bay Area Youth Employment Scheme” Impact Study Phase 1 Report
Written by : CK Law, David Lai, Justin Chan
In the 2020 Policy Address, the Chief Executive announced the “Greater Bay Area Youth Employment Scheme” (hereafter the Scheme), to encourage enterprises with operations in both Hong Kong and the Greater Bay Area (hereafter the GBA) to recruit and deploy local university/ tertiary institution graduates to work in the Mainland cities of the GBA. To assess the effectiveness of the Scheme, MWYO launched a longitudinal impact study in four phases, conducting online surveys and in-depth interviews. The first phase aims at understanding the views, expectations and difficulties encountered by the employers and employees.
This study is a collaboration between MWYO and the Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce (hereafter HKGCC). HKGCC distributed the employer questionnaire to its members and the members distributed the employee questionnaire to their employees. We received 20 valid responses from the employers and 140 valid responses from the employees in phase 1. We also conducted in-depth interviews with 10 employers, to present a more comprehensive analysis.
Phase 1 Report
Key Research Findings:
- Most employers interviewed in the study cited difficulties in administrative and human resource matters related to the Scheme.
- 63% of employer respondents stated an increase in the workload of human resource matters related to the Scheme, while half of the respondents found the application process of the employer allowance to be too complicated.
- 44% and 31% of employer respondents encountered difficulties in dealing with the personal and corporate tax arrangements for their employees respectively.
- Half of the employers we interviewed stated that the Scheme’s strict eligibility conditions limited the candidate pool during recruitment, and around two-thirds of the applicants were ineligible.
- Most employers we interviewed commented that the Government did not provide sufficient and clear information on the Scheme.
- Over 65% of employer and employee respondents stated that the Scheme has met their expectations.
- 82% of employer respondents stated that the Scheme helped them understand the level of job-related skills of the young graduates they hired.
- 78% of employee respondents considered that the Scheme supported their professional development, while 93% reported that the Scheme supported their career development. 81% of respondents mentioned that the Scheme supported their life development beyond their careers.
The Scheme has been beneficial for both the employers and young employees, but they have encountered obstacles throughout the initial stages of the Scheme, including the design, promotion, application and screening processes, and recruitment and onboarding arrangements. Upon analysing survey data and observations from in-depth interviews with the employers, we have devised 10 policy recommendations to improve the clarity of the policy objectives and positioning of the Scheme.
10 Policy Recommendations to Enhance the Scheme：
- The Government should announce a two-year extension of the Scheme in the 2022-23 Budget while a more comprehensive impact assessment should take place. After that, the Government may determine whether to make the Scheme permanent or terminate it in the long run.
- The Government could repackage the Scheme as the “GBA Talent Scheme” and raise the allowance amount, to attract more highly competitive applicants.
- Only Hong Kong permanent residents should be eligible for the Scheme, rather than including all Hong Kong residents who are lawfully employable in Hong Kong.
- A quota could be set on Hong Kong employees graduating from Mainland universities, say 20% of all positions.
- Hong Kong young people with more years of work experience may be more interested in participating in the Scheme. The eligibility criteria should be widened from only admitting those graduating from university within three years prior, to admitting those graduating within five years prior.
- The Government could review the arrangement of giving Innovation and Technology posts special treatment.
- The eligibility criteria for employers could be widened to include Hong Kong-registered companies with only affiliated companies in the GBA.
- The Government should provide more information and utilise more effective promotional channels.
- The Government should improve the efficiency of the application and allowance application process by making better use of online platforms.
- The Government should periodically assess the effectiveness of the Scheme.