By Poyi (Natalie) Leung
Secretary for Social Affairs and Culture Cheong U has encouraged local youths to develop their careers in Macau after completing their studies abroad, but some youth associations believe that without a formal career information system it may hinder the possibility of attracting talents to return to the SAR.
Vice-chairwoman of the Macau Youth Federation, Chan Sao Chai, told the Macau Daily Times that they are “worried” about graduates’ employment opportunities in Macau.
“Macau doesn’t have a systematic platform that provides career information to the students where they can learn about what kinds of occupations are in demand or which companies they can work for,” Chan said.
She urged the Government to consider having a special department to organise this system, which can benefit the Macau students who are either studying on the Mainland, in Taiwan or other places outside of the territory.
“Some local social organisations are trying to work on a similar project but it won’t be as complete and effective as the one implemented by the Government,” she added.
According to Chan, such an information system should also let students know what job vacancies are available in Macau and what kinds of candidates enterprises are looking for.
“The Labour Affairs Bureau has a similar service but the information is very simple,” she pointed out.
As a youth worker, Chan said she knows “many young people” who were forced to choose a job that doesn’t match their profession.
“It is quite a big loss for Macau. I hope that Macau can truly push forward economic diversification so that there will be more different professional platforms for our youths to make use of their knowledge and skills,” she told the MDT.
“It’s quite contradictory…On one hand we’re encouraging the young people to come back to Macau after graduation, but on the other hand we don’t have the right jobs for them. It is really wasting talents.
“It is exactly when Macau can’t attract talents to stay or come back to the territory [to work and contribute to Macau],” she added.
Chan pointed out that since it’s not easy to find a job in Taiwan or on the Mainland, she believed that most of the students would like to return to Macau to work.
But she stressed that even if the young graduates are unable to find the first jobs that suit their professions, they should not be “picky” about them and “the most important thing is that they can get a job”.
Yet young people still need to choose a discipline that they are interested in to study in university, Chan said, or otherwise “it’s likely that they won’t be able to work in that profession for long in the future”.
Students’ confidence is ‘important’
Meanwhile, director of the general office of the Macau New Chinese Youth Association, Carina Leong Sin Man, also told the MDT that the SAR Government needs to put more effort in providing updates regarding further studies and career paths to the overseas Macau students.
“The young people lack this kind of information at the moment, and thus it’s not easy for them to choose a discipline in university or to decide on what kind of jobs that they would like to do after completing their studies,” Leong said.
As for whether or not there is enough space for development within different industries and occupations in Macau, she pointed out that it “depends very much on if the students can remain confident in the development prospects of their professions and are willing to spend time and effort to develop their careers in the fields”.
According to a recent survey jointly conducted by the Macau New Chinese Youth Association, the Macau Youth Research Association and the Macau Chinese Students’ Association, concerning the Macau people studying at Taiwan’s universities, a majority of the respondents were willing to come back to Macau after graduation.
Among the 764 valid questionnaires, 545 respondents said that they would go to work after completing their studies in Taiwan.
Of them, 453 or 83 percent responded that they would return to Macau to look for jobs, while the rest preferred to stay in Taiwan, or go to Hong Kong or mainland China to work.
“The survey didn’t ask why it was Macau, but I believed that Macau is the place where they were born and raised, so it is normal for them wanting to come back home after graduation,” Leong said.
In addition, 189 respondents said that they would pursue further studies after completing the current courses in Taiwan. Most of them (78) would choose to stay in Taiwan or go to overseas (73) to do so, while only 28 of them said they would continue their studies in Macau.
Asked whether it implied that the current education system in the SAR may be unable to satisfy the local youths’ demand, Leong said this reason was unlikely.
“First of all I think this is a personal preference of where they would like to pursue further studies,” she said.
“I believe that the students went to study in Taiwan because they wanted to broaden their horizon and experience a different life, so I don’t think it was a surprise that Macau wasn’t among the top two places that they wanted to continue further studies,” she added.
The Tertiary Education Services Office was unable to give a comment yesterday when contacted by the MDT.