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A quarter of graduates dissatisfied with the salary and benefits of their first job

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A quarter of tertiary graduates are not satisfied with their first job, according to the latest jobsDB Survey on the Employment Status of Hong Kong’s Tertiary Students 2017.

Amongst those who feel dissatisfied, insufficient salary and benefits is the main reason for their disappointment (29%), while 17% cite a lack of career development opportunities and feel that employers fail to provide adequate on-the-job training.

The survey canvassed the opinion of 638 local graduates and undergraduates from various disciplines. It revealed that while fresh graduates are getting an average monthly salary of HK$14,978 in their first job – slightly higher than HK$14,685 in 2016 – the average salary of those who are dissatisfied with their first job is HK$12,470, down from HK$13,348 in 2016.

In addition, only 37% of respondents expect to receive a monthly salary of over HK$16,000, compared to 48% in 2016, reflecting that graduates and undergraduates are becoming increasingly cautious about the salary expectations for their first job.

This conservative attitude is also reflected in respondents’ five-year plans after graduation. In the 2016 survey, buying property was students’ number one target (29%); this has now dropped to number three (14%). Top of the list now is reaching management level (19%), followed by achieving short-term savings targets (14%).

ALSO READ: What do Hong Kong graduates want?

The top three industries undergraduates wish to enter are accounting (18%), advertising/PR/marketing services (8%) and the civil service (7%).

For students still searching for a role, salary and benefits were the most important elements when choosing jobs (23%), followed by career development and on-the-job training (16%), and room to develop their interests (14%).

Meanwhile, 17% of students plan to continue their studies, an increase from the 12% who planned to do the same in 2016. Only 8% of respondents plan to apply for working holiday programmes, a similar level to 2016.

The survey also found that while almost all of the respondents (99%) indicate their willingness to work overtime, over half (57%) of them would not be willing to do so for more than 6 hours per week.

The 2017 survey reveals that 37% of respondents feel pessimistic about their prospects – an increase from 29% in 2016. Keen competition in the industry (18%), a lack of confidence in their capabilities (14%) and concerns over job openings (14%) are the key reasons for this pessimism.

Nearly a quarter (23%) of respondents think that interview performance is critical to securing a job, followed by field of study (17%).

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