Date
23 August 2019
A recent survey showed that half of Hong Kong employees below 25 years of age with no more than two years of work experience quit their jobs without having a new one lined up. Photo: CNSA
A recent survey showed that half of Hong Kong employees below 25 years of age with no more than two years of work experience quit their jobs without having a new one lined up. Photo: CNSA

Why many young people resign without having a new job

Some people are able to work for a single company or agency throughout their entire career. Some people are able to switch from one job to another without any break.

But times have obviously changed. So it comes as no surprise that a recent survey showed that half of Hong Kong employees below 25 years of age with no more than two years of work experience quit their jobs without having a new one lined up.

That’s according to hiring portal JobsDB.com, which also found that nearly 40 percent of the respondents went for “naked resignation”, meaning they resigned without finding a new job.

Those people who have tried naked resignation – and that included yours truly – will tell you about the deep sense of uncertainty that becomes more pronounced as the feeling of freedom eventually fades off.

As Forrest Gump says, life is like a box of chocolates: “You never know what you’re gonna get.” And it usually takes a long time before you get what you want, or, in the case of some people, never.

There are countless reasons why young employees are not satisfied with their jobs. Long working hours, low job satisfaction and poor pay are among the main reasons, especially if they do not see the point of working 10 to 12 hours a day when their income won’t allow them to have their own apartment.

In other words, they can’t find the motivation to work harder.

I hear so many stories about our youngsters, the so-called pillars of society, who cannot hold on to their jobs and would rather remain a burden to their parents, but the more I hear about them, the more I understand them.

There’s this story about a certain government department which hired applicants without even conducting interviews, and the reason, it turned out, was because it had to fill the positions before the budget deadline.

And so on the first day of work, the supervisor greeted all the young and eager new hires: “Good morning, after today, you have 364 days left in this office.”

Now, why would anyone expect these young professionals to stay on their job, to work hard, even if they knew that regardless of their effort they would be sacked after one year?

Here’s another case: a friend of mine was offered a well-paying job in a blue-chip company, but he would be hired via a third party – a hire-of-services contract – which is good for one year but renewable.

The young man was perplexed. Why would a prestigious firm, a star performer in the industry, resort to such an unorthodox way of hiring people? Why won’t it just put an employee on probation, and once the employee passes the probation, he or she becomes a permanent employee?

Well, cost-cutting is the name of the game.

He sought my advice. I asked him what his wife thought about it.  “She said I don’t have much choice but to take it, and hope that my contract is renewed every year.”

It turns out his wife is working for a government agency, which is also implementing the same hiring scheme.

Can’t the private sector and our government, which has fiscal reserves of more than a trillion HK dollars, stop this spirit-quashing hiring trend and give our youngsters some level of dignity and allow them to hope that their hard work will give them a better future?

– Contact us at [email protected]

CG

EJ Insight writer

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