Evaluations by both employers and employees towards the Greater Bay Area Youth Employment Scheme are consistently positive
MWYO Greater Bay Area Youth Employment Scheme Impact Study Phase 3 Report
- About 90% of the employee respondents agreed that the Scheme allowed them to “understand more about GBA Mainland cities” and “gain more work experience”, and nearly 70% of them said they would introduce their friends to join.
- Even though most of the employee respondents thought that they had competitive advantages over Mainland graduates, those not to stay in their current jobs did not feel confident about finding a desirable job in GBA Mainland cities in the short run.
- Over 90% of the companies agreed that the Scheme met their expectations. A vast majority of the companies reported having a new employment arrangement with their employees, with many of them retaining all employees, and offering a salary of more than HKD18,000.
- Recommendation: Should be upgraded to “GBA talents scheme”; the salary allowance should be increased in order to attract more young people.
- Recommendation: Should expand the eligibility requirement; should allow people who have graduated within the past five years to apply for the Scheme.
- Recommendation: Should provide services to the employees directly in GBA Mainland cities in order to help them adapt to the working and living environment in the Mainland.
The “Greater Bay Area Youth Employment Scheme” (hereafter the Scheme) was launched by the HKSAR Government (hereafter the Government) in early 2021 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. The Government announced the regularisation of the Scheme in the 2022 Policy Address, and its details on 1st March 2023. As of late 2022 and early 2023, the employees were nearing the completion of the pilot Scheme (some of them had already completed it). To assess the effectiveness of the Scheme, MWYO launched a longitudinal research study in four phases. MWYO releases its report for Phase 3 today (14th April 2023).
Online surveys were conducted from November to December 2022 for Phase 3. The Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce (hereafter HKGCC) distributed the online employer questionnaire to its members and its members distributed the employee online questionnaire to their employees. Also, HKGCC arranged in-depth interviews with the employers. We received responses from 88 employees and 28 employers. The number of employee responses is estimated to be 13% of all employees hired and still working under the Scheme (around 700). The survey findings were based on 70 employees who had returned the questionnaires both in Phase 2 and Phase 3, and 13 employers who reported that they had hired successfully under the Scheme (hereafter the companies).
Most of the employee respondents found the Scheme useful
As the employee respondents found the Scheme useful, nearly 70% of them (68.1%) said they would introduce their friends to join. The vast majority of the employee respondents agreed that the Scheme allowed them to “understand more about GBA Mainland cities” (92.8%) and “gain more work experience” (89.9%). The Scheme might be beneficial for the companies in terms of operation and manpower development. Nearly all employee respondents could adapt to the daily life arrangements (98.5%).
Confident about finding a desirable job in GBA Mainland cities?
Interestingly, even though most of the employee respondents thought that they had competitive advantages over Mainland graduates, those not to stay in their current job did not feel confident about finding a desirable job in GBA Mainland cities in the short run, likely due to the fact that some of them might lack relevant professional and adaptability skills compared to their Mainland counterparts. Also, if the employee respondents were unfamiliar with the tax and subsidy arrangement in GBA Mainland cities, they would be expected to encounter more difficulties during job seeking. Moreover, it was not easy for them to find a job which could meet their expected salary due to the fact that the average salary for most of the jobs in GBA Mainland cities has less than that in Hong Kong.
New employment arrangement after the Scheme
Over 90% of the companies agreed that the Scheme met their expectations. A vast majority of the companies reported having a new employment arrangement with their employees, with many of them retaining all employees. Some of the companies gave employees hired under the Scheme permanent contracts from the beginning. Most importantly, nearly all of the companies were willing to offer a salary of more than HKD18,000 plus other allowances. It reflected that the Scheme could be beneficial to the long-term human resources strategy of the companies. However, according to the employee survey results, only nearly 40% received a new employment contract which was lower than reported by the companies, showing a lack of communication or a mismatch of expectations between the companies and the employees. The companies and the employees should have more communication on this.
Recommendation: Should be upgraded to “GBA talents scheme”
The monthly salary allowance should be increased in order to attract more young people. The Government should increase the allowance for different educational attainment while holding employers’ contribution constant at HKD8,000 each. If the employers are able to hire employees with more experience, they should be able to offer a higher salary. For example, HKD20,000 for experienced employees with a bachelor’s degree (the allowance from the Government being HKD12,000/month), and HKD23,000 for those with a master’s degree (the allowance from the Government being HKD15,000/month).
Recommendation: Should expand the eligibility requirement
The Government should allow people who have graduated within the past five years to apply for the Scheme instead of the current three years so that more youths who are interested can join. The employers can have a better chance of hiring suitable employees too.
Recommendation: Should provide services to the employees directly in GBA Mainland cities
Based on current supportive services provided by different government departments and institutions, the Government should consider delegating suitable institutions to provide support to the employees, in order to help them adapt to the working and living environment in the Mainland.
Law Cheung-Kwok, Special Advisor at MWYO, said, “The Phase 3 report provides a more complete picture of the effectiveness of the Scheme. We believe that it has been quite successful overall. The Scheme was conducted during the COVID-19 peak and stringent measures, and it is remarkable that the majority of employees were able to complete the Scheme and received offers of continual employment. Both evaluations by employers and employees are consistently positive. In particular, most employees claim to have gained a better understanding of GBA Mainland cities, their strengths and weaknesses, and are more willing to continue working or studying in the Mainland. This reflects that the Scheme has generally achieved its major objectives. What is even more encouraging is that most employers are satisfied with the performance of their employees and will continue to participate in the regularised Scheme, which proves that both employers and employees can benefit from the Scheme.”
The Phase 4 study will be conducted in April 2023, about three months after the conclusion of the pilot Scheme. This will enable us to evaluate the effectiveness of the Scheme on the future career development of the employees. Also, we can have a better understanding of the plan and arrangement of employees after the completion of the pilot Scheme.
Online Report: https://bit.ly/MWYO_Apr23_GCC-P3