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Job opportunities for fresh grads in Hong Kong have taken a big hit with the dual impact of last year’s civil unrest and the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

It’s a tough job market for many in city – and beyond – right now but our youngest and brightest are experiencing especially challenging times.

Hong Kong’s main online job portals are all showing a significant down trend for graduate job vacancies.

According to recruitment website JobsDB, for example, there were only around 20,000 vacancies for Hong Kong graduates from January to April this year – 55% less than the same time last year. Job ads fell 31% from March to April, while 15% fewer companies were looking to hire, it was revealed in the SCMP.

“In 2003, it was mainly the (SARS) epidemic which affected jobs,” Alexa Chow Yee-ping, managing director of AMAC Human Resources Consultants, told the newspaper.

“But this time, the social unrest has also affected job prospects, especially with protests happening over several months last year, and expected to last at least until the Legislative Council elections later this year,” she said.

Chow added that last year, graduates earned an average monthly of around HK$16,000 but that entry salary levels were expected to drop by 10 to 20% in 2020.

“The entire job market has been affected, with tourism and catering sectors taking the biggest hit,” said Isaac Shao Kwan-shek, CEO of JobsDB Hong Kong

“But sectors such as information technology may still thrive because of the changes to our way of life as we’ve become more dependent on IT,” he said.

Shao added that it would also take graduates longer to land a full-time role this year. In 2019, the average time taken was around three months.

On a positive note, big four accounting form, PwC, is looking to hire around 2600 fresh grads in Hong Kong and mainland China this year, although this is down from 3000 last year.