Date
22 October 2017
University graduates have seen their incomes fall despite inflation and a steep rise in property prices. Photos: Bloomberg, HK govt
University graduates have seen their incomes fall despite inflation and a steep rise in property prices. Photos: Bloomberg, HK govt

University grads making less compared to 20 years ago: study

A study has found that new university graduates in Hong Kong are earning significantly less on average compared to the levels their peers did 20 years ago.

According to the study by New Century Forum, a local political group, the median monthly income of local university graduates stood at HK$13,916 last year, down 15 percent from the HK$16,371 earned by their counterparts in 1995.

Incomes have fallen despite soaring inflation and a steep rise in property prices. 

The study pointed out that residential property price indexes have gone up by 175 percent over the last two decades, and that the indexes for gauging rental expenses climbed 43 percent during the period.

For university graduates of the year 2000, although their median income has grown by 96 percent to HK$27,506 by 2010, when they reach 30 to 34 in age, the increase still lagged considerably from that of home prices, the study showed, according to the Hong Kong Economic Journal.

Even when this group of people reached the age of 35 to 39 by 2015, their median income of HK$32,306 still trailed behind that of the increases in home prices.

In 1995, a university graduate would need to spend 30 percent of his or her income to support the purchase of a 430-square-foot flat in the New Territories.

But in 2015, a university graduate would need to sacrifice 72 percent of his income to do the same, New Century Forum noted.

Chan Wai-kung, a university lecturer, told Apple Daily that the conventional theory of getting rid of poverty through education is harder to achieve nowadays as home prices are simply too high.

Most of the university graduates who managed to acquire a property required financial assistance from their parents.

Chan urged the government to curb home-price growth and also said that authorities should consider introducing property gains tax to rein in the soaring prices.

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