On 25 November 2020, the Chief Executive of Hong Kong SAR Carrie Lam presented her fourth Policy Address, which includes various proposals to create more jobs in both the public and private sectors through the Job Creation Scheme established under the anti-epidemic fund measures, enhance support to employees through the Love Upgrading Special Scheme for Retraining, and create employment opportunities for young people in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area (GBA).
Creating more sector-specific job opportunities
The government proposes to adopt the following measures to create more job opportunities in the following sectors for young people graduating in recent years:
Love Upgrading Special Scheme for Retraining (LUS Scheme)
The Employees Retraining Board will launch the third tranche of the LUS Scheme in January 2021, immediately after the completion of the second tranche at the end of this year. The new tranche will double the number of training places to allow 20,000 trainees, providing them with retraining and an allowance during the training period so that they may rejoin the employment market at the earliest opportunity.
Matching of manpower resources
The Labour Department will organise job fairs and enhance matching between job-seekers and employers who are facing staff shortage, including those who lack frontline care staff in elderly homes. In view of the care staff shortage in such sector, the government will adjust training and working hours to attract more people to join. Employers will also be encouraged to participate in the First-Hire-Then-Train Scheme, as well as the Employment Programme for the Elderly and Middle-aged.
GBA Youth Employment Scheme
The government will launch the GBA Youth Employment Scheme to provide subsidies for 2,000 positions for companies with Hong Kong and GBA operations to recruit university graduates to work in the GBA.
For an employee in the IT sector, his/her monthly salary must be at least HK$26,000 of which the government would subsidise HK$18,000. For other positions, an employee must be paid at least HK$18,000 per month of which the government would subsidise HK$10,000. The subsidy will last for 18 months and the Scheme will be for a term of three years commencing from the end of this year.
The above proposals represent the government’s effort to ensure there are enough jobs in the economic downturn. It remains to be seen if these measures are sufficient to help the unemployed and underemployed. In any event, the effectiveness of the relief proposals is not only dependent on the collaboration of employers, but also on how soon the economy can recover. Perhaps this explains why the “sky blue” colour has been chosen for the Policy Address booklet which, according to the Chief Executive, means “hope”.