Job-seekers in for tough times

THE upgrading of former polytechnics and colleges to university level means tougher competition in the job market for graduates, according to a City University career counsellor.

But some students, who recently attended a Civil Service Careers Exhibition at the university campus, said they did not feel the pressure and the Civil Service, although the least popular sector with City University students, was still considered most stable despite the competition.

The major reason was the attractive terms of employment.

A career survey conducted by the university in 1993 showed over 80 per cent of students joined the private sector primarily because of the relevance of the jobs with the courses offered.

The survey also showed that the number of those taking government jobs had dropped from 4.9 per cent to 4.5 per cent.

'This is a slight decrease and is actually insignificant,' said senior counsellor Anna Yeung Lee Kit-fun of the Student Affairs Office.

'The City University aims to train students to be professionals with practical skills to suit the needs of society,' said Mrs Yeung.

But some students interviewed by Young Post believed the Civil Service was not an exciting field to enter.

Final-year student Choi Sai-kwan said he would prefer having some work experience in the private sector before deciding whether to take up a government job.

The survey also showed that most students who joined the government sector chose one of the following positions - Police Interpreter II, Analyst Programmer II, Chinese Language Officer II or Health Inspector.

Non-profit making organisations were the second largest employment attraction, followed by the education sector despite a drop in numbers from 187 to 118.

Students taking Building, Accountancy, Computer Engineering and Manufacturing Engineering recorded the highest rate of employment.

Mrs Yeung said the university held the annual Civil Service Career Exhibition alternatively with the Hong Kong Polytechnic University.

Mrs Yeung added that the City University's Student Affairs Office aimed to offer an all-round education to students. 'It offers training in interpersonal relations, problem-solving and language skills in addition to their subject studies.' An Applied Chemistry student said she liked the starting pay and the perks offered in government jobs, but competition in her field of specialisation was tough.

'The limited posts [of government chemists] meant several thousand qualified candidates competing for only dozens of positions,' she said.

However, working for the post-1997 Government did not worry second-year Applied Biology student Vincie Lai Wing-sze.

'Any shake-up in the new administration would affect not only government personnel, but other sectors as well.'