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[Archive] Participation by young people in pre-employment trainning and continuing education programmes

LEGCO QUESTION NO.1(ORAL REPLY)

 

Date of sitting : 27.02.2002



Asked by : Hon TAM Yiu-chung

Replied by : SEM

Question :

The unemployment rate continued to rise throughout last year and reached 6.1% in the last quarter. Given that the Chief Executive stated on the 30th of last month that the Government would create some 2 000 jobs in addition to the 30 000-plus job opportunities to be created in the public sector as pledged in the 2001 Policy Address, will the Government inform this Council:

  1. of the progress in and the detailed schedule for creating the additional jobs, together with a breakdown by job type; and
  2. whether it has formulated new measures, apart from the relief measures stated in its reply to this Council on November 7 last year, to tackle the unemployment problem; if so, of the details of such measures?

Reply:

Madam President,

As a result of the dual effect of the deterioration of the external economic environment and the economic restructuring within Hong Kong, the latest quarterly unemployment rate has reached 6.7%. The number of unemployed persons was close to 220 000. In the near term, unemployment rate is likely to remain high. In fact, a reversal of economic growth is the world trend and is beyond human control. Furthermore, government's financial position is extremely tight, and is not able to create massive number of jobs. Any improvement in the unemployment situation must ultimately be driven by the economy and directed by the market to create job opportunities. In the long term, we must upgrade the quality of our workforce and minimise any mismatch between supply and demand.

  1. The Chief Executive stated in late last month that after much hard work by various government departments, there would be an estimated additional 2 000 short-term jobs to be created. Out of these, it is anticipated that about 1 800 will be created by 2002-03. These short-term jobs include clerks, information technology officers, community relations assistants, fire safety supervisors, seafarers, security guards, microfilming system officers, health care assistants, programme assistants, employment assistance co-ordinators, medical services assistants, etc. The detailed information is set out in Annex.
  2. (2) With due regard for our long-term development needs, we will continue with our efforts to explore the possibility of creating more jobs in needy areas to ease the unemployment problem. The Immigration Department, the Police and Labour Department will enhance enforcement to combat illegal employment. This includes intercepting illegal immigrants and prosecuting those who employ illegal immigrants and illegal workers, so as to protect employment opportunities for local workers.

    On the other hand, with due regard to Hong Kong's long term strategic development, the Government is actively developing new economic sectors, improving business environment, expanding the development space for enterprises and encouraging investment with a view to creating more employment opportunities. In recent years, the Government is actively promoting tourism, logistics industry and financial industry. We also step up economic cooperation with the Mainland and invest heavily in manpower training to cater for the needs of economic development. These initiatives will help resolve the unemployment problem.

    In the longer term, to cope with skill mismatch brought about by economic restructuring, we have to change the traditional mode of education and nurture a new generation that have a creative mind and the abilities of self-learning and adaptation. We must also strengthen vocational training and encourage life-long learning to improve the competitiveness of local workers in employment market.

    At the same time, we have to attract more talents to come to work in Hong Kong so as to foster investment and facilitate economic growth. Apart from this, we should strengthen the training for local workers. In particular, we have to improve the competitiveness of low-skilled workers. For example, the training for local domestic helpers has become more professional and varied with the addition of modules on cookery, child and elderly care. We have also made the post-training follow-up and employment services more systematic to attract more employers to hire local domestic helpers.

    We believe that the current policy objectives are on the right track. While the short term relieve measures are important, long term economic development and training strategy are in fact more critical. We also hope that employers and employees can join hands to weather this difficult period and avoid massive layoffs, which would exacerbate the unemployment situation.

 

Annex

Timetable of Creation of 2000 Jobs

ServicesTotal2001/20022002/20032003/2004
Security matters23464170-
Marine, estate management, information technology and etc238105133-
Financial affairs2201319413
Medical and health, welfare, labour matters1,28001,18199
 1,9721821,678112