Letters to the Editor, September 10, 2017

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 10 September, 2017, 9:01am
UPDATED : Sunday, 10 September, 2017, 9:01am

Bank backs more diversity in workplace

In your editorial (“Close the gender gap in the technology industry”, September 3), you highlight the current disparity in the numbers of men and women working in technology. Encouraging the greater participation of women in STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) professions is a key way to ensure Hong Kong’s continued competitiveness and ­future leading position as an international business hub.

Companies should hire and promote based on merit and experience. Large corporations have an opportunity and responsibility to lead by example in supporting gender diversity across job types in all industries.

Greater workplace diversity supports innovation and provides companies with a broad range of viewpoints that better reflect the communities they serve.

With women accounting for around 30 per cent of our board of directors – compared to an average of about 12 per cent among all Hang Seng Index constituent members – Hang Seng Bank has long recognised the business advantages of ensuring diversity in our management structure as well as our workforce. In addition to having a female CEO and a female chief operating officer, Hang Seng’s head of IT is also a woman.

With a growing body of research highlighting the positive association between workplace diversity and overall business performance, the corporate case for encouraging greater ­female involvement in senior management and STEM ­professions is clear.

Walter Cheung, head of communications and corporate sustainability, Hang Seng Bank

North Korea should aim for negotiations

President Donald Trump said all options were “on the table” after North Korea fired a missile over Japan last month.

This was a provocative act by Pyongyang and there have been others since then.

Countries must keep trying to get the message across to North Korea that such actions are unacceptable. And the country should fulfil its international obligations and resume serious negotiations. The US, South Korea and their allies must continue to resist the growing threat posed by North Korea.

Icy Po, Tsui Lam

Vocational training classes will really help

I often read reports about many fresh graduates who struggle to find work. And teenagers often complain that the government does not offer them vocational training courses, which also increases youth unemployment figures.

Without these courses, many youngsters lack work experience and professional qualifications, which are both valued by employers looking to increase their workforce.

The government should be ensuring that vocational training actually starts in school.

The emphasis in mainstream secondary schools in Hong Kong is on academic subjects. So there are few opportunities for more practical training for the students. Not every young person can get a place at a university, so schools need to diversify, with practical subjects like home economics. Subsidies should be offered to schools to make this more varied syllabus possible.

With the right vocational training, a young person who failed to get an undergraduate place can still get a good job.

There will be parents who will resist these changes in the education system because they undervalue vocational courses, but these reforms are necessary.

The government should also help youngsters get occupational training during the main school holiday as summer interns in firms. This job experience can prove ­invaluable for young people.

Simon Chung, Kwun Tong

Working hours law would be preferable

There is a downside to the increase in the statutory minimum wage from HK$32.50 to HK$34.50 in May.

While it can increase the ­purchasing power of workers, it has put greater pressure on employers who have to pay the ­increase.

For some of them, especially the smaller firms, the economic pressure is greater and they have to lay off some employees.

Increasing the minimum wage will not reduce inflation. If people have a higher wage and spend more, it could exacerbate inflation. The statutory minimum wage does not help ease Hong Kong’s ­economic problems.

I would rather see legislation governing standard working hours.

Jacky Leung, Tseung Kwan O

E-books good but there is a downside

I agree with Kenneth Cheung Ho-yeung that students can benefit from e-books (“E-books would relieve burden for students”, September 5), but they can also bring problems.

It can be bad for youngsters’ health if, in addition to using smartphones and playing computer games, they also read e-books, because they are spending a lot of time looking at a computer screen.

Also, in a class where students are all using e-books, they may be distracted and use the devices for recreation. It is difficult for a teacher to monitor everyone in class.

E-books can still be beneficial, but we have to recognise the ­potential drawbacks.

Alice Ma, Hang Hau