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%).
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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%).