Hong Kong Offers $46.4 Million to Employers Hiring Local College Graduates
What’s new: In response to soaring youth unemployment, the Hong Kong government is offering employers a monthly grant of HK$10,000 ($1,290) for each recent college graduate they hire as part of efforts to encourage jobs for young people in the Greater Bay Area.
Under the program, which will last as long as 18 months, companies are encouraged to employ Hong Kong college graduates and dispatch them to Chinese mainland cities in the Greater Bay Area. The subsidies will guarantee employed graduates a monthly salary at least HK$18,000.
The program, which will cost the Hong Kong government as much as HK$360 million, is part of the Greater Bay Area Youth Employment Scheme announced in November to create 2,000 jobs for the city’s youth in the Greater Bay Area, including 400 information technology jobs.
Hong Kong digital wealth management platform AQUMON told Caixin it plans to apply for the program to hire Hong Kong graduates for its Shenzhen office. The Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce said its member companies, including HSBC Holdings PLC and Cheung Kong Ltd., will provide about 300 jobs.
The background: The jobless rate in Hong Kong has been rising, especially for young people. Unemployment among those between 20 and 24 years old in Hong Kong hit 17.5% between September and November 2020, while the overall rate was 6.3%.
The number of unemployed people with college degrees has reached 61,700 in Hong Kong, an increase of about 27,000 over the same period in 2019. The government said the youth unemployment rate may remain in double digits for some time.
The idea to create the Greater Bay Area was raised in 2009 by the local governments of Hong Kong, Macau and Guangdong province, aiming to capitalize on the region’s already strong finance, manufacturing and technology capabilities to build an economic and innovation hub that could eclipse the San Francisco Bay area, Greater New York and Greater Tokyo.
The region includes some of China’s most dynamic cities, home to the country’s manufacturing base and tens of thousands of high-tech companies. The region accounts for less than 1% of China’s territory and 4% of population but generates nearly 10% of national gross domestic product.
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