Job-seekers lower their sights as salaries suffer

PUBLISHED : Friday, 06 December, 2002, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 06 December, 2002, 12:00am

The first person in the queue for catering work at a jobs fair yesterday said he would be prepared to take a position for as little as $3,000 a month.

About 3,500 people attended the fair, organised by the Labour Department at New Town Plaza in Sha Tin at a time when Hong Kong's jobless rate is 7.2 per cent.

There were about 1,000 jobs on offer from 16 companies - including Fairwood Holdings and Maxim's Caterers - which accepted applications and conducted interviews. Salaries ranged from $4,000 to $20,000. Another 500 vacancies solicited from other catering firms were on offer.

More than 300 job-hunters queued outside. First in line was a Mr Yu, who had not found a permanent job since finishing a youth pre-employment training programme two years ago.

'The economy is so bad, I may try any jobs that come my way,' he said. 'I am prepared to accept pay of $3,000, which is quite low, but given my lack of qualifications, I don't really have a choice.'

Tsui Kwong-lam, a senior manager with the Federal Restaurants Group, said his company would hire 200 people at the fair, even though business this year had fallen by 10 per cent from last year. He said pay was lower than in the past, despite the fact most applicants were of a higher calibre.

According to the Census and Statistics Department, the value of total receipts for the restaurants sector was $13.3 billion in the third quarter of this year, down 5 per cent on last year.

Meanwhile, the Youth Commission said it had received a promising response from employers to provide jobs on the mainland for young Hong Kong people. It hopes to begin recruitment next month once the Chief Executive approves the move.