Date
24 September 2017
A significant number of young Hong Kong people feel they have no hope of ever improving their situation. Photo: HKEJ
A significant number of young Hong Kong people feel they have no hope of ever improving their situation. Photo: HKEJ

Survey: Four in 10 HK youths say they’re poor, overworked

Four in 10 young people in Hong Kong consider themselves poor and overworked, with a significant number saying it would take five to 15 years to improve their lot.

A further 10 percent said they expect no improvement in their situation at all, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reported Wednesday, citing a survey by the Hong Kong Federation of Youth Groups.

The survey questioned 522 respondents between 15 and 34 from September to October. Half have at least a high school education.

About 40 percent described themselves as poor and overworked, of which more than 30 percent said it would take up to 15 years to get out of that bracket.

One in 10 saw no such prospect at all.

Long working hours, high cost of advanced education, limited career choices and lack of a qualification framework to link experience with positions and salaries are the biggest factors that hinder progress for young people, according to academics.

Hong Kong has about one million workers aged 15 to 34, according to census data.

Among them, about 10.3 percent, or 104,000 people, earn less than HK$8,500 (US$1,096) per month. 

A 25-year-old interviewee from the accounting industry said his low educational qualification had prevented him from further studies and from getting a higher pay.

“It costs HK$1,000 for a course and HK$300 plus for the exam module,” he said.

Still, there is no guarantee it will lead to a better salary, he said.  

The survey called for increased efforts to improve the employment prospects of young people through subsidies for relevant courses and internships.

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VW/JP/RA

Freelance journalist

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