LegCo Panel on Manpower

Progress of measures to create jobs and tackle unemployment


This paper sets out the latest progress of the measures to ease 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:

AMeasures to create jobs
1 Expediting expenditure on minor Government maintenance works
  • Started minor maintenance works worth a total of HK$90 million
  • 750 jobs created as of 1 September. Another 250 jobs to be created by the end of this year.
2 Advancing commencement of public works projects
  • Advanced 21 public works projects worth a total of HK$5.9 billion.
  • Advanced the creation of around 2,870 jobs.
  • Considering the possibility of advancing some more projects.
3 Expanding and accelerating district-based environmental improvement projects
  • Has started recruiting 47 temporary works supervisors for managing the works projects and supervising the works contracts. Appointments will be offered in mid-October.
  • Will start awarding contracts in October.
4 Direct 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.
  • HKTA staged the first event--a large-scale Pop Concert, which was a special highlight of the promotion programme, "Hong Kong City of Life--Stars Spectacular '98" on 23 August at the former Tamar Site.
  • Other events are being planned to be staged at the Site, such as the HK International Products Exhibition and the Chinese New Year Parade.
5 Major 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.
  • Awarding works contracts.
  • Around 1 800 new jobs for various construction trades were created by the end of August and another 900 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
6 Strengthening the Job Matching Programme(JMP)
  • Capacity of JMP doubled from 2 July, with an additional team of two staff at each of the 11 Local Employment Service (LES) offices of the Labour Department.
  • In August, job registrants increased by 13.8%, referrals were up 52.8% and placements up 22.1% as compared with the month of June.
7 Providing telephone referral and vacancy processing service for job-seekers
  • Services started at all 11 LES offices from 6 July.
  • As of 15.9.98, LES received a total of 22 680 telephone calls from job-seekers, of which 19 701(86.9%) requested job referral service. 9 369 referrals were arranged and 510 placements were secured.
  • As from 6 July, employers who place vacancy orders with LES can choose to have their company names and telephone numbers put on display, so that job seekers can contact them for job interviews direct . As of 15.9.98, LES obtained consent from 3 433 employers involving 7 955 vacancies (i.e. 27% of the total number of vacancies received) to open up their vacancies to the public. Orders involving 3 718 vacancies have subsequently been cancelled, indicating that such vacancies have been filled.
8 Installing more self-serve touch-screen computers
  • Will complete the installation of additional computers at all LES offices and 10 Labour Relations Service offices by early October.
9 Launching an Employment Information and Promotion Programme
  • The Programme commenced in August.
  • As of 31.8.98, visits and promotional activities under this Programme have reached out to 450 employers and job-seekers.
CEnhancing vocational training and employees retraining
10 Setting 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.
  • "One-stop" team started operation in mid-August.
11 Launching 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.
  • Workshops on "Teaching of Unemployed Adults" were organised in September. Discussion forums, one for each subject area were also held to introduce the curricula to teachers of the Course in both Technical Institutes and training bodies.
  • Classes started on 14 September.
12 Special training programme for the maritime industry to be jointly launched by the VTC and ERB for the unemployed
  • VTC launched a press conference in conjunction with the maritime industry to promote the training programme at the Seamen*s Training Centre on 19 August.
  • VTC completed enrolment for the first intake. As at 2 September, 24 trainees enrolled--the planned intake per class. The course started on 9 September. Recruitment for subsequent intakes is in progress. The next intake will be in October.
13 Implement 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.
  • Recruitment of students started on 8 September and ended on 19 September.
  • Classes will start on 12 October.
14 Increase 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.
  • The first series of the various Short Courses suitable for Secondary 5 leavers (totalling 916 training places) lasting for about three months each, commenced in mid-September. Recruitment for remaining places in upcoming classes is in progress.
15 Enhance 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
  • 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.
DPromoting further education
16 Expanding the capacity of taught post-graduate(TPg) courses at the institutions funded by the University Grants Committee (UGC)
  • UGC and six UGC-funded institutions are prepared to over-enrol by 10% to 20% of TPg courses in 1998/99 academic year.
  • Will firm up the number and distribution of additional places in September.
17 Extending 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.
  • The extended Non-Means-Tested Loan Scheme will be launched on 28 September.
18 Increase 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.
  • As of 18 September, classes for 671 students who have enrolled started on 16 September. Recruitment for the remaining places is at the final stage.
ETightening measures to combat illegal employment
19 Amending 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.
  • Drafting of the bill is in progress.
  • The Security Panel of the Legislative Council was consulted on the bill on3 September.
  • 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
1 Exempt from 22 June 1998 profits tax interest income earned from deposits placed locally with authorised banking institutions
  • Effective from 22 June.
2 Provide HK$2 billion to help small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) to obtain loans from lending institutions
  • Finance Committee of the Legislative Council on 31 July 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.
BStabilising property prices
3 Suspend all land sales by auction and public tender till 31 March 1999
  • Effective from 22 June.
4 Double 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
  • Finance Committee(FC) of the Legislative Council approved the proposal on 31 July.
5 The 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 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
6 Reduce duty on diesel by 30% from 23 June 1998 to March 31 1999
  • Taken effect on 23 June
7 Reduce 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.
8 Rebate 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
9 Freeze 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.

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
September 1998