Two-thirds of young Hongkongers unwilling to work in mainland China: survey

Two-thirds of young Hongkongers unwilling to work in mainland China: survey

Many have doubts over the mainland’s quality of life and rule of law, a survey has found

Two-thirds of young Hongkongers do not want to work across the border in China as many have doubts over the mainland’s quality of life and rule of law, a survey has found.

And of those who were willing to make the move, just under 15 per cent have actually tried to look for work there. Only about 2 per cent were very keen to look for work on the mainland.

The latest survey shows little has changed from the last decade, when a similar survey by the Hong Kong Federation of Youth Groups in 2009 found only about one-third of young people would consider working in the Pearl River Delta.

The Bauhinia Foundation Research Centre commissioned the Chinese University’s Hong Kong Institute of Asia-Pacific Studies to conduct a telephone poll of 1,001 Hongkongers aged 18 to 29 from August to September last year. None of them had actual experience of working on the mainland.

The survey found that 46.3 per cent were “unwilling” and 18.4 per cent “very unwilling” to seek employment on the mainland.

In contrast, 30.9 per cent were “willing” and 2.3 per cent “very willing” to do so. The remainder did not know how they felt.

Lawrence Lee, director of the think tank – which was formed in 2006 by close allies of then chief executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen – said the figures highlighted a lack of understanding of the mainland. “Young people need to know that the world is big and it is not just Hong Kong Island, Kowloon and the New Territories,” he added.

Student Daniel Hui is keen to work on the mainland. Photo: Sam Tsang

Of those unwilling to work across the border, 22.8 per cent lacked confidence in the rule of law; 15 per cent held a negative image of mainland society and quality of life; and 18 per cent said they were not used to the way of life there. Some 17.2 per cent did not want to leave their families.

According to a 2011 Census and Statistics Department report, about 175,100 Hong Kong residents worked on the mainland, with 88.9 per cent of them literally just over the border, in Guangdong.

Daniel Hui Yin-hang, a Chinese University hotel and tourism management student, is one young person keen to work over the border. “I want to work in real estate, and there are many opportunities on the mainland. Even Hong Kong firms are now focusing a lot on the mainland market,” said the 22-year-old.

His last visit to the mainland was a trip to Beijing several years ago. “I had quite a positive feeling that time. The air quality and security were fine,” he said.

Joanna Ho Tsz-ying, a third-year Baptist University translation student, was in the other camp. “The rule-of-law situation is an important reason why I am resistant to working on the mainland,” said the 21-year-old.

Alexa Chow Yee-ping, the managing director of AMAC Human Resources Consultants, said there was strong demand on the mainland for Hong Kong talent from financial services and design companies – and the wages could be more competitive than the salaries on offer locally.

“I would suggest that [young people] first look for jobs in Hong Kong where they are given the opportunity to travel to the mainland,” she said.

“Once they have experience working there, they can look for jobs directly on the mainland. This way it’s easier to get used to the way of life.”

Last month, Zhang Rongshun , vice-chairman of the legislative affairs commission under the National People’s Congress Standing Committee, said there was a need for “re-enlightenment” among Hongkongers on the meaning of “one country, two systems”.

Last week, Chen Zuoer , former deputy director of the State Council’s Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office, said China’s national interests must be considered when the city formulated its education policies.

Next summer’s record 7.5 million graduates on the mainland are expected to put pressure on the job market.

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Robert Chaen

Global CEO-Founder of ChangeU and Movsha Movers & Shakers, Hero-CEO Whisperer, Writer, The #1 Alpha Change Expert, Father of Asian FireWalking Robert Chaen is an International Keynote Speaker, writer, researcher, and corp games designer. He is famously known to be the “Hero-CEO Whisperer”, 1-on1 coaching with many CEOs and Celebrities for corporate strategies, staff & office political issues, personal branding, and even public figure OSHA safety drilling called Drager Defense. He has transformed CEOs and managers in Coca-Cola China, TVB Hong Kong, Cathay Pacific, Hong Kong Airport Services, VADS, TM, Public Bank, Auditor General's Office Maldives, etc. He is the prolific creator and online Author of innovative management tools such as DragonCEO, Diamond Leader, Papillon Personal Effectiveness, OSHA Drager Defense, KPI Bank, etc. He is also the Founder of Movsha, an international networking with monthly mingles with MOVers & SHAkers, Angels, Entrepreneurs, CEOs, Celebrities, HR-PR-CSR, HODs, and the Most Influential IDEA people. ​Chaen is widely considered as one of the top International Platform Keynote Speakers for Resorts World Genting Senior Management Conference (Manila), 7-Eleven HK, Samsung, Coca-Cola China Mini-MBA @Tsing Hua University, Cathay Pacific, Hong Kong Jockey Club, The Story Conference where he interviewed Datuk Kamarudin (Chairman of AirAsia) and Siti Nurhaliza. He has been widely featured in TVB, AWSJ, CNBC, SCMP, The Star, and Sin Chew. As “The Father of Asian FireWalking”, he coached TVB celebrities (Ekin Cheng Yee-Kin) to walk on 650°C fire; and raised HK$68M in the world’s 1st and only live TV Charity FireWalk (TVB Tung Wah Charity Show), before Tony Robbins even came to Asia. If Robert can get you to walk on 650⁰C fire, he can inspire you to be THE BEST. He champions CN-HK-EU-US Tycoons to be philanthropic, and to be angel investors to support the next generation of Jack Mas, Steve Jobs, Richard Bransons, Steven Spielbergs, or Barrack Obamas. With some slick motivational speakers with fake doctorates out there, graduates often describe Robert to be "the most credible, empowering, truthful Coach" who believe in his graduates to believe in themselves. ​However, clients have described Robert as "The #1 Cool Badass Alpha Change Expert". He has the coolest first class stature, rapport and trust from clients. He will not hesitate to tell the badass truth ever so gently because clients are paying him big bucks to reveal the truth, find solutions, persuade the hostile HODs, and align cross-teams within the organization. Originally based in Hong Kong for 20+ years, he had worked with top Branding/Ad agencies at J Walter Thompson and Leo Burnett, and was a certified FranklinCovey (7 Habits) in USA, and NLP MasterCoach (USA). His warmth is known to soften the most hardened, resistant sceptics. He will inspire your team to Go for Top 1, or to be a Dragon CEO. With boundless energies, Robert owns 15+ successful business Joint-Ventures, and created unique products under his global VC network called Chaen's Angels VC. He is deeply passionate about ChangeUTH Youth CSR, Science-Based Medicine (vs. quackery), short films and Reality TV. Touched by a personal tragedy through the loss of his HK-born Portuguese wife, co-coach and business partner, Brenda José of 18 years, Robert explores the many ways in which the spirit world is communicating with the living with real scientific studies and evidence. He gives inspiring conferences on The Secret Afterlife.

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