University graduates’ wage conditions are getting better, but after accounting for property prices, there is a clear decline, said a report on the wages of university graduates between 1995 to 2015. They study was released by the New Forum and the New Youth Forum on Monday.
The study showed that the average monthly wage in 2015, adjusted for inflation, was HK$13,916 for the sixth generation of university graduates, which means those born between 1991-1995. Meanwhile, those in the second generation – those born between 1971-1975 – earned HK$16,371 in 1995.
However, the sixth generation’s average salary in 2015 improved over that of the fifth generation, which was HK$13,447 in 2010 and the fourth generation, which was HK$12,978 in 2005. The fifth and fourth generation refer to those who were born between 1986 to 1990 and those who were born between 1981-1985, respectively.
Yet the study also found that, while the average price of a square foot of property was worth 30.1 per cent of monthly wages for those from the second generation in 1995, the same square foot of property was worth 71.5 per cent of monthly wages for the sixth generation in 2015. The price was calculated according to property less than 40 square metres big in the New Territories.
“It is especially serious among those of the younger generation. Purchasing property for each generation is getting more and more difficult as the days pass,” said the study.
It also said that on the whole, the difference between the wages of those from elite universities and other graduates have lessened. On the positive side, wages are more equal, but on the negative side, the decreasing difference is due to the drop in wages of graduates from elite universities, and not an increase across the board for university graduates, said the study.
Chan Wai-keung, a lecturer at the College of Professional and Continuing Education founded by the Polytechnic University, told Apple Daily that the government should review education policies and the distribution of university placements and job placements across occupations. He said that “if the parents are from the grassroots class, even if their children work in professional occupations, it will be hard for them to buy property.”