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The public administration, social and personal service sectors is the most preferred destination of choice for Hong Kong university students, according to a new research from College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences of City University of Hong Kong (CityU).

The research team has released the report titled “A Study of Career Aspirations between university students in Hong Kong and Taiwan”, which interviewed a total of 1,159 students from six universities in Hong Kong and Taiwan in January in order to understand the factors they considered important for employment, salary expectations, willingness to work overseas, interest in starting their own business, and employment capabilities.

The result showed that about 32% of Hong Kong students would like to pursue a job in the public administration, social and personal service sectors; while only 8.5% Taiwan respondents indicated a similar interest.

Meanwhile, more than half (50.2%) of Hong Kong students would like to become civil servants after graduation, while only 16.1% of Taiwan students indicated the same interest.

The top three factors for considering jobs were whether the job suited their interests (Hong Kong: 72.7%; Taiwan: 74.8%), salary (Hong Kong: 57.3%; Taiwan: 62.4%), and career prospects (Hong Kong: 56.5%; Taiwan: 48.8%). Job location was only a minor factor (Hong Kong: 13%; Taiwan: 20.3%).

It was noteworthy that fewer than 20% of respondents in both places would consider whether the nature of the job could contribute to society (Hong Kong: 16.6%; Taiwan: 18.8%).

Although salary is one of the most important considerations of job search, income for local university graduates seemed to drop during the past decade. About 61% Hong Kong students expected a monthly salary in the range of HK$11,001 to HK$17,000, which was similar to the average salary for graduates 10 years ago.

ALSO READ: What do Hong Kong graduates want?

Students in both places shared the same views on individual employment capabilities. In order of importance, the attributes that they stressed were communication skills, interpersonal skills, work experience, computer skills and clerical competence.

Young generations are also more willing to work overseas. 62% of Hong Kong respondents said they would consider leaving Hong Kong to work elsewhere, which was 20% lower than those in Taiwan (82%). The difference may be due to economic factors, since Hong Kong people enjoy a higher salary and lower taxes than Taiwan people do.

Among various overseas destinations, most young people in both places preferred Europe and the US (Hong Kong: about 36%; Taiwan: about 55%). Interestingly, compared to 46% of Taiwan students who were willing to develop their career in the mainland, only 28% of Hong Kong students would consider doing the same.

Entrepreneurship might be another option for graduates. About 42% of Hong Kong students showed an interest in starting up a business, much lower compared to their counterparts in Taiwan (66%).

Among those who have considered being an entrepreneur, most of the Hong Kong students preferred the arts and creative industry (19.1%) or tutoring and education sector (8.7%), while Taiwan students’ first and second choices were information technology and networks (22.9%), and the arts and creative industry (19.6%), respectively.

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