Women faring better in tight job market

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 30 May, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 30 May, 2009, 12:00am

Women in their 30s and 40s are finding it relatively easier to find jobs in the current downturn than their male counterparts, according to government data.

The number of middle-aged women in the workforce rose more in the first three months of the year than the figure for men of the same age.

Quarter on quarter, the percentage of women aged between 30 and 34 who were employed rose to 81 per cent from 79.8 per cent. For men, the percentage was unchanged at 96.9 per cent.

For women aged 35 to 39, the proportion edged up to 75.7 per cent, from 75.4 per cent; for women between 40 and 44,it increased to 72.1 per cent, from 70.9 per cent; and for women aged 45 to 49, the figure went from 64.7 per cent to 67.4 per cent.

Men appear to be suffering more during the slowdown. The proportion of men aged 35 and 39 in the workforce rose to 96.7 per cent, from 96.2 per cent. But it dipped to 96.1 per cent from 96.3 per cent for men aged 40 to 44, and dropped from 95.2 per cent to 94.7 per cent for the 45 to 49 age bracket.

Layoffs by major employers, including HSBC, have severely hurt people's job security.

With a flood of graduates expected to chase fewer opportunities this summer, the jobless rate may worsen to about 8 per cent this year. Unemployment stood at 5.3 per cent in April.

Despite the dismal job market, the business downturn may explain why employers in Hong Kong felt the most comfortable with their hiring situation since 2006. According to a global survey by Manpower Inc, 63 per cent of employers in Hong Kong said they expected no difficulty in filling positions.

This is the highest level since 2006, when 69 per cent said they would have no problems hiring.

Climbing up

Government data shows the number of employed women is rising

The percentage of women aged 30-34 who were employed rose from 79.8 per cent to: 81%