The construction industry is considering offering fixed salaries to young recruits and increasing trainees' monthly allowances to attract workers. Of the between 70,000 and 80,000 frontline construction workers in Hong Kong, about half were aged 50 or older and nearing retirement, said Conrad Wong Tin-cheung, president of the Hong Kong Construction Association. He said talks were being held with contractors on the idea of fixed salaries for new workers for their first six or nine months of employment in a bid to avoid a shortage of manpower at a time when key projects were due to begin. Mr Wong said the fixed monthly wage could be set at HK$8,000, compared with the HK$5,000 to HK$6,000 newcomers now received. As salaries include payment for the quality and quantity of their work, new entrants would need training before they started to earn more. Mr Wong also wants at least to double the monthly allowance of trainees who take courses organised by the Construction Industry Council Training Academy from the present HK$2,000.