Hong Kong fresh graduates received an average monthly salary of HK$16,692 in their first job in 2019, slightly lower than the 2018 average of HK$16,892 and about HK$2,000 less than the median salary of the Hong Kong workforce.
The highest paid industries for fresh graduates are medical services (HK$23,472), engineering (HK$19,122), and public/civil/social services (HK$18,991), while digital marketing/e-commerce/social media industries are at the lower end of the spectrum (HK$13,380).
Government and public organisations continue to be considered the ideal employer for fresh graduates (16%), followed by banking (8%) and financial services companies (7%). Over 60% of respondents have applied or will apply for government jobs because of regular working hours and stable salary increments (both 42%). Only 3% of respondents were driven by a desire to serve society. Of the respondents who will not apply for any role in the government, more than half of them said it was due to the government's drop in reputation, following civil unrest in the second half of 2019.
More graduates expect a higher salary in their first job, with 59% aiming for over HK$16,000, 10% higher than those in the previous cohort.
Apart from salary and benefits (26%) and career development and on-the-job training (19%), the new workforce also places greater emphasis on flexible working:
- Almost a quarter prefer their first job to offer flexible working hours
- 14% of respondents are unwilling to work overtime
- 14% prefer an early leave option on Friday at least once a month
- 13% wish to leave early for festive days
- 13% demand everyday casual wear
- 9% wish to work from home
These graduates are also more inclined to get a full-time job right after graduation. In comparison, fewer people are planning to take a working holiday.
Despite their enthusiasm to join the workforce, 57% of fresh graduates delayed their job searches due to salary (12%) and social instability (7%).
These are the key findings of JobsDB's Employment Status of Hong Kong’s Tertiary Students 2019 Survey – which interviewed 816 local graduates and undergraduates from September to October 2019.