"The current generation of students show clearer signs of wanting to get into creative industries, small information technology companies and non-governmental organisations concerned with social sustainability and fair trade," says Herman Chan, director of careers and placement at the university's Centre of Development and Resources for Students (CEDARS).
The trend indicates a structural shift in Hong Kong's economy rather than a major change in student choices, he says. Tracking and responding to such changes is a key task for Chan's 20-strong team. It is, though, just one part of their mission to ensure students are aware of the full range of careers open to them and are equipped for each successive stage of the application and interview process.
Specific training starts with induction talks for all first-year students, explaining the system, workshops to attend and support available. Leaving nothing to chance, this subsequently takes in personality assessments, training in soft skills, advice on putting together a resume and regular job market overviews.
If students are slow to sign up, "we go after them", says Chan, who helps more than 3,000 university leavers make the transition into full-time employment every year. There are tough mock interviews, assessment centres, group discussions and presentation drills, reflecting what employers focus on.
CEDARS has lined up a panel of 15 retired professionals to offer one-to-one advice on the realities and expectations in different industries. "These volunteers are former investment bankers, ex-government [officials] or were with multinationals," Chan says. "Students can pick an adviser based on their background and experience."
More than 160 major corporates and multinationals now give on-campus presentation