Transport sector must increase wages to attract young recruits

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 07 September, 2016, 5:14pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 07 September, 2016, 10:27pm

Lack of promotion of careers in the transport sector is a major reason for the recruitment problems firms are experiencing.

Youngsters are not made aware of the different kinds of jobs available that might be suitable for them. Like so many citizens they probably take for granted our efficient transport network and fail to appreciate just how important these jobs are to ensure the city functions smoothly.

In other sectors, a lot of information is made available, and the career paths are clear to prospective job applicants, but this does not happen with transport operators and this partly explains the manpower shortage.

These firms need to go into secondary schools and explain to students the career options that are available. They can also use their own locations to advertise, such as bus-stops and minibus ranks. And they can launch a television advertising campaign.

Youngsters could be put off by the fact that some employees, for example, bus drivers, have to work long hours, sometimes not finishing a shift until early in the morning and only have short breaks. Young people want to have a social life and feel that won’t be possible if they are working 12-hour shifts.

Transport firms have to make changes and allow their drivers longer breaks and holidays. They also need to adopt a flexible hours structure and so help relieve the pressure on staff and enable them to have more free time to spend with their family. This can make a transport sector career seem more inviting.

However, young people are also put off by the low wages. On a quiet day taxi drivers may only get a few passengers and not earn much. School leavers will not be tempted to become bus drivers if they are only paid around HK$18,000 a month.

Wages have to go up and the government should put more resources into this sector. If young people know they can earn a decent salary with enough time off, our transport operators will find it far easier to recruit them.

Ivana Lam, Sau Mau Ping