We are delighted that so many Chamber member companies have already signed up for the new Greater Bay Area Youth Employment Scheme. As soon as the programme was announced, our members sprang into action to offer more than 300 positions. And given the popularity of our recent webinar on the topic with Secretary for Administration Matthew Cheung, I’m sure the number will continue to rise.
The scheme was announced by the Chief Executive in her latest Policy Address, part of an initiative that has been allocated HK$500 million in funding. What this means in practice is that the Government will subsidise up to 55% of salaries of at least HK$18,000 per month for 2,000 recent graduates to work in the Mainland GBA cities. The scheme will run for 18 months.
HKGCC members that have signed up range from SMEs to global corporations – including my own employer, HSBC. And they are from such diverse sectors as architecture, education, environmental services, finance and healthcare – enabling young talent from a broad range of disciplines to participate.
It is difficult to overstate the benefits that working in the GBA can offer Hong Kong’s young professionals. With a population ten times the size of Hong Kong, featuring rapidly developing infrastructure, as well as being the base for innovative high-tech industries, the region offers extraordinary personal and career development opportunities.
And with the Mainland economy having already returned to growth, the timing has never been better to get some firsthand experience by working in the GBA market.
The Chamber’s surveys over the past few years have shown that the Hong Kong business community is well aware of the growing potential in the GBA. On our popular missions to the various Mainland GBA cities before the pandemic, many of our members saw the remarkable developments at first hand.
But many of Hong Kong’s students and young people may not have had that experience yet, and are perhaps not aware of the huge opportunities opening up just across the border.
The GBA Youth Employment Scheme will broaden their horizons in many ways. Firstly, it will provide them with an exciting and rewarding career path, while providing them with new perspectives and strengthening their resumes. It really is a win-win opportunity, for both the graduates and the companies involved.
The past 18 months have been extremely difficult, but the GBA offers a bright future for many Hong Kong companies. Although there is some good news with vaccines against the pandemic being rolled out after Chinese New Year, some businesses will still need help to get through the final stretch. Therefore, we hope that the Financial Secretary’s upcoming Budget will help the most hard-hit sectors and extend short-term assistance like the Employment Support Scheme. Such targeted measures will ensure Hong Kong is ready when business activities return to growth.