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A total of 37% of respondents in Hong Kong are looking to change their jobs to start their own business, according to Randstad's latest research.This sentiment is highest among younger workers, with close to one in two 18-to 24-year-old workers considering the career path of an entrepreneur.

“Red tape, drawn-out approval processes and inaccessibility to digital solutions can limit an employee’s growth potential. Add these reasons to unmet salary expectations and inadequate learning opportunities in a traditional corporate structure and employees might just want to take matters into their own hands. Millennials and Generation-Z workers tend to pursue their dreams of becoming an entrepreneur as they are highly motivated to drive change and do good. The experiences that the younger workers gain from being an entrepreneur can also increase their chances of securing a higher-level or well-paying job when they choose to work in the corporate environment in the future,” said Natellie Sun, managing director in search and selection, Greater China at Randstad.

Even though 75% of respondents feel valued and appreciated in their jobs, 39% feel they are not being paid enough as compared to similar jobs in other companies. More than two in five younger workers (42%) felt that they are not paid competitively in their roles.

“The ongoing protests and pandemic have exacerbated the unemployment situation among graduates, resulting in the number of job vacancies decreasing considerably over the past year. To tide over this difficult period, many fresh graduates are choosing to take on internships or multiple part-time jobs while they wait for a permanent job offer. Companies are also offering a more conservative starting salary as compared to previous years,” Sun said. 

Most companies tend to hire younger talent for their digital capabilities and tech-savviness to drive innovation and fill the gaps that the existing workforce is unable to keep up with. However, only 68% of respondents aged between 55 and 67 think that employers are more interested in hiring younger workers for that reason. This is lower compared to 74% and 85% in Malaysia and Singapore respectively.

Sun explains, “As Asia’s key financial hub, people tend to gravitate towards careers in finance and business, believing that there are more jobs in these areas. This has resulted in a severe shortage of STEM talent in the working population across all generations.”