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Total employment in the Hong Kong private sector suffered a drop for the first time in a decade, while the number of job openings has slowed sharply compared with the same period last year.
The Secretary for Labour and Welfare, Law Chi-kwong, wrote on his blog on Sunday that the labour department had received 85,692 job posts in November, a 31.7% decrease from the previous year.
Law said the government had been keeping a close watch on the Hong Kong economy and its influence on the labour market.
In light of the current situation, the Employees Retraining Board (ERB) has launched a one-off special training programme – the “Love Upgrading Special” scheme – to assist the unemployed to upgrade their skills for self-enhancement to re-enter the employment market as early as possible.
Law said the ERB has received 4,144 applications so far, which has been perceived as positive, and hence, the government is planning to enhance the scheme through measures such as increasing the ceiling of the special allowance from HK$4,000 to HK$5,800 for each eligible trainee, and adding new courses or quotas.
The government will also increase quotas and subsidies for the Youth Employment and Training Programme – a pre-employment and on-the-job training for young school leavers aged 15 to 24 with educational attainment at a sub-degree level or below.