Tough times for business graduates

Jobs with international investment banks are thin on the ground, HKU survey shows

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 30 April, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 30 April, 2013, 3:53am

Graduates with business degrees are facing the toughest time since the 2007-09 financial crisis in finding jobs with international investment banks.

However, according to a University of Hong Kong employment survey, some other sectors are booming.

Offers from multinational investment banks were down about 30 per cent so far this year, the university's director of careers and placement, Herman Chan Ping-kong, said as he released results of the survey on the career development of 3,500 graduates.

"This is the worst time since the financial crisis for bank jobs," he said, adding that students should consider other jobs.

The survey found that while most of the university's 2012 graduates could find a job if they wished, the biggest jump in salaries was in the insurance, retail and construction sectors, with average monthly gross income increasing by 14.6 per cent, 9.1 per cent and 8 per cent, respectively.

The average salary for a HKU graduate stood at HK$19,598, up 6.8 per cent from last year.

The survey figures showed that of commerce and business jobs, the proportion of graduates entering financial institutions fell from 12.6 per cent in 2011 to 10.1 per cent last year, the biggest drop among such careers.

"Hong Kong is greatly affected by the surrounding environment and what's going on in the United States and Europe," Chan said. But retail, nursing and advertising were seeing growth.

Thousand Lim, a third-year student of the university's business programme, said getting into investment banks should not be the sole path for success.

"Hong Kong is a hub. It will have a future if there are intellectuals who innovate," the international business and global management student said.

Lim runs a social enterprise on training and development.

Government and law student Michael Wong said Hong Kong should not "put all its eggs in one basket". "This city needs passion," he said.