City Weekend

From butcher to meat-cutting technicians: Manual job titles in Hong Kong get revamped to attract younger workers

Job advertisements use the term ‘technical assistants’ to recruit factory workers, or ‘concierge agent’ to hire bellboys

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 08 April, 2017, 10:46am
UPDATED : Saturday, 08 April, 2017, 11:23am

Manual jobs in Hong Kong are increasingly being given glorified and more complicated titles in order to attract more young people to work in certain lower paid industries.

In January last year, the Pork Traders General Association of Hong Kong suggested that butchers be called “meat-cutting technicians” as part of a new recruitment drive.

The new title was advertised in partnership with the Employees Retraining Board, as 40 new recruits were offered a 120-hour training package before they could start earning a basic monthly wage of HK$13,000. The recruits could later earn up to HK$20,000 per month after gaining further experience on the job.

The job was by no means the only one in Hong Kong to be subjected to a re-branding exercise.

Kee Wah Bakery has advertised positions for “technical assistants” – an alternative term for factory workers. The role, aimed at those with a minimum of one-year work experience, requires workers to “assist production floor to achieve production attainment” and “assist the production executive and production supervisor to improve process flow”.

A sign of the times: traditional jobs that are long gone with Hong Kong’s changing workforce

And at the Novotel Hotel in Hong Kong, the position of bellboy is currently being advertised as a “concierge agent”. Successful candidates must provide all guests with “great service” and “be friendly with a smiling face, well-groomed and a team player”.

Meanwhile, American fast food chain Subway has been mocked worldwide for introducing the title of “sandwich artist” for employees who put together its submarine rolls.It has 35 outlets in the city.