LegCo Panel on Manpower
Progress of measures to create jobs and tackle unemployment


This paper sets out the latest progress of the measures to tackle unemployment and create jobs, as well as additional employment opportunities which have been announced by the Task Force on Employment.

Progress of measures to create jobs and tackle unemployment

2. The latest progress is set out in the following table:

A.Job Creation

Progress of job creation as a result of Government's policy initiatives, investments and measures

According to Government's recent assessment, there will be at least some 100,000 new jobs in the labour market from May 1998 to end-1999, largely as a result of the Government's key policy initiatives and major infrastructure or other projects, and partly because of the needs of the Civil Service. These 100,000 jobs comprise 11,000 civil service posts estimated to be created up to 31 March 1999, and 89,000 other jobs in the subvented and private sectors.

Of the 89,000 non-Government jobs, some 33,000 will be created by end-1998, about 31,000 during the first half of 1999 and another 25,000 during the second half of 1999.

On the basis of the latest information on major areas of job creation, some 15,000 jobs have already been created as at mid-September 1998. These 15,000 jobs include some 3,000 civil service posts which have been filled as at early July, and around 12,000 non-Government jobs which have been created as a result of various projects and measures the Government has implemented by mid-September. Some 21,000 additional jobs in the non-Government sectors are therefore expected to be created between mid-September and end-1998.

The Government will produce a comprehensive update on this job creation assessment by the end of this year, taking account of the initiatives and commitments announced in the 1998 Policy Address.

Extra measures to create jobs
1Expediting expenditure on minor Government maintenance works
  • Started minor maintenance works worth a total of HK$93 million

  • 850 jobs created as of 1 October 1998. Another 150 jobs to be created by the end of this year.
2Advancing commencement of public works projects
  • Since May 1998, 123 works contracts/consultancy agreements worth a total of $6.2 billion have started and some 7,100 jobs comprising 1,200 at professional/supervisory level and 5,900 at operative level have been created.

  • Accelerated the progress of 25 public works contracts worth a total of HK$6.3 billion. Nine of these contracts have already started.

  • Considering the possibility of advancing some more projects.
3Expanding and accelerating district-based environmental improvement projects
  • Has completed selection interviews for the recruitment of 47 temporary works supervisors for managing the works projects and supervising the works contracts. Appointments will be offered in late October.

  • Will start awarding contracts in October.
4Direct Grant of the former Tamar Site to the Hong Kong Tourist Association(HKTA) for facilitating the staging of recreational, entertainment and tourism-oriented activities, resulting in the creation of around 3,200 new jobs.
  • Metro Broadcast Co. and HKTA have begun to jointly organise weekend events - "City of Life - Harbour Fun Carnival" on the site over six weekends since mid-October.

  • Other events are being planned to be staged at the site. Five organisations will organise activities at the former Tamar Site in the coming 4 months, including the Chinese New Year Parade & Fiesta. There are also other organisers who have indicated interest in staging activities such as exhibitions, carnivals, games and entertainment at the site within this year or in 1999.
5Major repair and maintenance works for aided schools leading to the creation of 3,730 new jobs during the coming 18 months. These new jobs include 420 carpenters and joiners, 650 plasterers, 510 plumbers, 510 painters, 210 electricians, 1,060 general labourers and 370 blacksmiths.
  • Works contracts are being awarded.

  • Around 1 940 new jobs for various construction trades were created by the end of September and another 760 additional jobs are expected to be available by the end of this year.
BStrengthening and improving the Labour Department's employment and job matching service
6Strengthening the Job Matching Programme(JMP)
  • Capacity of JMP doubled from 2 July 1998, with an additional team of two staff at each of the 11 Local Employment Service (LES) offices of the Labour Department.

  • In September, the JMP registered 1,692 registrants and arranged 8,250 job referrals. 586 placements were secured, as compared to 570 last month.

    From 1 to 20 October, the JMP registered 1,012 registrants, arranged 5,009 job referrals and secured 326 placements.
7Providing telephone referral and vacancy processing service for job-seekers
  • Services started at all 11 LES offices from 6 July 1998.

  • In September 1998, LES received a total of 10,995 telephone calls from job-seekers, of which 10,088 (91.8%) requested job referral service. 5,075 referrals were arranged and 279 placements were secured.

  • In September , LES obtained consent from 1,643 employers involving 3,449 vacancies (i.e. 32.3% of the total number of vacancies received) to display their information at LES so that job-seekers can contact them direct for arranging job interviews. During the month, employers cancelled their open orders for a total of 1,656 vacancies. A large percentage of these vacancies are believed to have been filled by job-seekers who had contacted the employers direct for job application.

  • From 1 to 20 October, LES received a total of 5,105 telephone calls from job-seekers, of which 4,767 (93.4%) requested job referral service. 2,806 referrals were arranged and 116 placements were secured.

  • From 1 to 20 October, LES obtained consent from 872 employers involving 1,688 vacancies (i.e. 38.9% of the total number of vacancies received) to disclose the relevant information to the public for direct application by job-seekers. During the same period, employers cancelled their open orders for a totalof 1,021 vacancies.
8Installing more self-serve touch-screen computers
  • Completed the installation of additional computers at all LES offices and 10 Labour Relations Service offices in early October 1998.
9Launching an Employment Information and Promotion Programme
  • The Programme commenced in August.

  • As of 20.10.98, visits and promotional activities under this Programme have reached out to 354 employers and 10,840 job-seekers.
CEnhancing vocational training and employees retraining
10Setting up a "One-stop" unit at the Employees Retraining Board(ERB) to assist both the unemployed and employers
  • ERB has provided two telephone hotlines--one for employers and the other for employees from 9 July. Up to 12 October, a total of 2,316 and 9,695 telephone enquiries respectively from employers and employees have been handled and 1,807 vacancies have been registered.

  • 2,007 potential retrainees approached the "one-stop" service team for consultation and/or submission of applications for various retraining courses. Whenever required, officer-rank staff provide in-depth information on courses available, location of training bodies and placement results of relevant retraining courses to help applicants select appropriate courses that suit their own interests and abilities.

  • The one-stop service team also provides enhanced follow-up service for employers approaching the ERB for enquiries or assistance.
11Launching a special nine-month Certificate of Skills Training(Service Industries) Course for 1,000 unemployed persons to be run jointly by the ERB and the Vocational Training Council (VTC)
  • Graduate trainees with Secondary 3 education allowed to apply for three civil service posts--Clerical Assistant, Supplies Attendant and Supplies Assistant.

  • Classes commenced on 14 September 1998, with 600 places provided by Technical Institutes and 400 by Training Bodies.
12Special training programme for the maritime industry to be jointly launched by the VTC and ERB for the unemployed
  • The first class of the special seafarer training course for 21 trainees commenced on 9 September 1998. The course will be completed on 16 December.
13Implement a special one-year full-time Vocational Studies Certificate programme for 1000 Secondary 5 leavers at the various Technical Institutes of the Vocational Training Council in October 1998
  • The additional 1,000 places are spread over 10 one-year courses. Of these, two are existing courses while eight are new ones. The new courses aim at facilitating graduates either to secure jobs direct, or to pursue further studies.

  • Classes commenced on 12 October.
14Increase by 392 over the existing total of 1,124 training places (i.e. to 1,516 places, comprising 600 full-time and 916 part-time) for Secondary 5 leavers at the Construction Industry Training Authority(CITA) in 1998/99
  • The one-year full-time Construction Supervisor/Technician Training Programme (totalling 600 training places) commenced in mid-September.

  • As for the various Short Courses suitable for Secondary 5 leavers (totalling 916 training places) lasting for about three months, six short courses commenced in mid-September, with a total of 191 training places. A substantial number of applications for the remaining short courses scheduled to commence later have been received.
15Enhance the retraining-cum-job matching programmes for domestic helpers and child-minders under the Employees Retraining Board (ERB).
  • ERB's one-stop service (with a centrally managed telephone hotline) came into operation on 9 July 1998. As at 12 October 1998, the ERB received 2,012 enquiries, 679 vacancies and placed 176 retrainees as domestic helpers.

  • ERB is working out, in conjunction with 12 training bodies, a new series of marketing and training initiatives for domestic helpers, to tap the huge potential for job creation in this market. In order to publicize the training, a marketing flyer has been developed and will be issued in late October. An Announcement of Public Interest (API) on Employees Retraining Scheme with a special focus on domestic helpers training will feature on television with effect from 19 October.
DPromoting further education
16Expanding the capacity of taught post-graduate(TPg) courses at the institutions funded by the University Grants Committee (UGC)
  • Six UGC-funded institutions indicated that they are prepared to over-enrol by 10% to 20% at the TPg levels in the 1998/99 academic year.

  • Will firm up the number and distribution of additional places in October/November.
17Extending the Non-Means-Tested Loan Scheme to benefit some 61,000 additional tertiary students
  • Proposal approved by the Finance Committee of the Legislative Council on 17 July 1998.

  • Have started receiving applications in late September 1998.
18Increase the number of Secondary 5 places in Government evening schools by up to an additional 1000 places as from September 1998, depending on the actual demand
  • Education Department has identified five school premises to operate 25 classes of Secondary 5 to provide 1,000 additional places.

  • Classes commenced on 16 September 1998.
ETightening measures to combat illegal employment
19Amending the Immigration Ordinance to hold construction site controllers criminally liable if persons not lawfully employable, including two-way permit holders, breach their condition of stay by taking up employment on construction sites.
  • An amendment bill will be introduced in the Legislative Council in November 1998.

  • In the meantime, Immigration Department will continue with its vigorous enforcement efforts such as conducting large-scale operations, and the Labour Department will conduct more inspections at workplaces to clamp down on illegal employment more effectively and efficiently.

Special relief measures to boost the economy

3. In addition to the above measures, the Government announced on 22 June a package of special relief measures to boost the economy, i.e. between the first two meetings of the Task Force. A summary of these measures and their latest progress is as follows:

AEasing the Credit and Liquidity Crunch
1Exempt from 22 June 1998 profits tax interest income earned from deposits placed locally with authorised banking institutions
  • Effective from 22 June, 1998.
2Provide HK$2 billion to help small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) to obtain loans from lending institutions
  • The Finance Committee of the Legislative Council on 31 July 1998 approved a commitment of $2.5 billion for the setting up of a Special Finance Scheme for Small and Medium Enterprises. The Scheme was launched on 24 August.

  • As of 24 October 1998, a total of 244 applications has been received. With the exception of two applications which have been withdrawn by the applicants, all of the applications have been approved with the loan involved amounting to $404 million. The Government intends to review the Scheme in early 1999.
BStabilising property prices

3Suspend all land sales by auction and public tender till 31 March 1999
  • Effective from 22 June, 1998.
4Double the allocation for "Home Starter Loan Scheme" in 1998-99 from $3.6 billion to $7.2 billion so that twice the number of households (i.e. from 6,000 to 12,000) will be able to become home owners
  • The Finance Committee(FC) of the Legislative Council approved the proposal on 31 July, 1998.
5The Housing Authority to consider increasing the quota for the "Home Purchase Loan Scheme" from 4,500 to 10,000 in 1998-99.
  • The Housing Authority approved on 23 July 1998 the increase of quota from 4,500 to 10,000 for the next 12 months up to July 1999.
CEasing costs of families and business

6Reduce duty on diesel by 30% from 23 June 1998 to March 31 1999
  • Taken effect on 23 June, 1998
7Reduce declaration charge for imports from 0.035% to 0.025% and for domestic exports from 0.05% to 0.025%
  • Taken effect on 1 August, 1998.
8Rebate the first quarter rates paid in 1998-99
  • The rebate will be credited against the October to December 1998 quarterly rates bill if there has been no change in ratepayers since April 1998. For other cases, a refund of the rates paid will be arranged as soon as the ratepayers' status is clarified.
DSharing the economic difficulty of the community

9Freeze salaries adjustment of D3 officers and above in the civil service, Government-subvented organisations, the Judiciary, and the ICAC whose salary adjustments follow exactly those in the civil service.
  • Taken effect on 1 April, 1998.
The Way Forward

4. The Government will continue to work closely with members of the Task Force, employers, employees, training institutions, legislators and all concerned parties to draw up effective and appropriate measures to identify additional job and training opportunities with a view to helping the unemployed rejoin the workforce as soon as possible and sustain their employability in the longer term.

Education and Manpower Bureau
October 1998