More than half of  Hong Kong’s young adults earn less than the median wage of HK$14,700 a month, the Hong Kong Council of Social Service announced on Thursday.

According to the council’s new survey, 53 percent of young people aged between 20 and 34 do not earn the median wage, and only 30% of them are satisfied with Hong Kong’s economy.

Photo: Hong Kong Council of Social Service.

In addition, only around 20% of those surveyed believed that their housing situation will improve in the next 2-3 years.

The chief executive officer of the council Chua Hoi-wai said that those with non-degree tertiary degrees may not see an improvement in their living conditions, despite their ability to earn more money. “They become ineligible for public housing after income increases, and need to use a large portion of their income to rent places which are not very nice and from which they often are forced to move out of,” he said. “Then life is about spending money on housing and there are no chances in the long run for a change. There is a chance that they will remain in the grass roots level of society, continuing to struggle.”

Income band vs education level. Photo: The Hong Kong Council of Social Service.

The council urged the government to develop a more diverse and fair economic structure, allowing people from different professions and education levels to have a chance for economic progress. It also said that the government should increase sponsored degree conferring tertiary quotas and provide opportunities for continued learning, as well as increase the construction of public housing and home ownership scheme flats.

The survey found that 38% of young adults were satisfied with Hong Kong’s housing sector, and only 36% were satisfied with the quality of their own overall living situation. Respondents with lower education levels were less satisfied.

Chantal Yuen

Chantal Yuen is a Hong Kong journalist interested in issues dealing with religion and immigration. She majored in German and minored in Middle Eastern studies at Princeton University.