The Future of Work for Hong Kong Youth: Alternative Pathways to Quality Employment


J.P. Morgan-Asia Society One Step Ahead Series

one step ahead

Panel Discussion
Registration 8:30am
Discussion 9:00am
Lunch 12:00pm 

The program is by invitation only. If you would like to attend or have any questions, please email

In today’s innovation-driven world, and in the face of increased competition from both neighboring economies and on a global scale, Hong Kong has taken various steps to develop into a high value-added, diversified economy. As the government rolls out its blueprint to transform the city, it is vital that it invests strategically to equip young people with the skillsets they need to thrive in the labor force. While ensuring all youth have an equal opportunity to access formal pathways to quality employment, the urgent demands of today’s technological era dictate the need to promote and provide non-traditional pathways into highly sought-after jobs, with greater focus on soft and critical thinking skills. As Hong Kong restructures into a more innovation-driven economy, employers are placing more emphasis on practical, problem-solving, critical thinking and employability skills — competencies that can be acquired and strengthened through diverse alternative educational paths that are becoming more relevant in the current business environment. The forum  the ninth iteration of the One Step Ahead Series, which is now in its fifth year  explores the future of work for young people in Hong Kong’s high-growth sectors and highlights case studies of non-traditional pathways to success, as the city invests in a more knowledge-conscious workforce.

Opening Remarks

  • Law Chi-kwong, Secretary for Labour and Welfare, Hong Kong S.A.R. Government

Panel I | Transitioning Youth into High-Growth Sectors

In 2018, the technology and innovative industries have been given a strong push, with over HK$50 billion earmarked to develop Hong Kong’s strength in these areas. There are various government initiatives to train and pool technology talent, and provide studentships to nurture youth to enter high-growth sectors, while employers are working with government and civil society to provide youth mentoring and training, and invest in start-ups. There is an increased emphasis on and demand for soft skills development, and it is imperative that greater cross-sector efforts be directed towards making vocational education a more socially accepted pathway to a career in high-growth sectors. This session explores efforts to support youth to thrive in Hong Kong’s high-growth sectors.

  • Christina Hong, President, Technological and Higher Education Institute of Hong Kong
  • Lau Ming-wai, Vice Chairman, Youth Development Commission
  • Fanny Law, Chairperson, Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation
  • Venetia Lee, General Manager, Alipay Hong Kong, Taiwan & Macau
  • Zoher Abdoolcarim, Former Asia Editor, TIME International (Moderator)

Sharing Session | Non-Traditional Pathways

Short-term events and long-term trends are transforming the environment in which workers, employers, education and training providers, and policymakers are operating. Indeed, traditional pathways of higher education are no longer the only means to access high-quality jobs, and, in fact, oftentimes they do not provide their graduates with the employability skills to compete in the workforce of the 21st century. While in Hong Kong many parents and educators alike advise young people against studying for an associate degree – which they do not consider to be a stepping stone to a better future –, today’s tech-centric environment offers youth the opportunity to pursue diverse pathways to success. This session highlights the need to nurture sub-degree holders to encourage the pursuit of alternative routes.

  • Sophia Leung, Chief Information Officer, Asia Pacific, J.P. Morgan
  • David Li, President, Hong Kong Institute of Human Resource Managament
  • Peter Mok, Head of Incubation and Acceleration Programmes, Hong Kong Science & Technology Parks Corporation 

Panel II | Alternative Employment Pathways for Hong Kong’s Youth

In Hong Kong, a university education has long been promoted as the primary means to gainful employment for the city’s young people. While attending university has traditionally been the revered academic route, today’s youth face a radically different, tech-driven future, and acquiring soft skills has become essential to their success in the local as well as global labor market. Yet, vocational education, which emphasizes soft and practical skills development, is largely not viewed as a viable alternative option among parents and educators alike. As Hong Kong continues to challenge the mindset of skeptics, this session presents case studies to underscore the availability and merits of alternative pathways towards greater economic opportunity for the city’s young people today.

  • Ryan Chow, Founder, Cyber Games Arena
  • Dennis Kwan, Founder & Engineering Director, QBS System Limited
  • NiQ LaiChief Operating Officer, Hong Kong Broadband Network
  • Angie Lau, Former Anchor, Bloomberg TV & Li Ka Shing Foundation (Moderator)




Event Details

Wed 13 Jun 2018
9 a.m. - 1 p.m.

Asia Society Hong Kong Center, 9 Justice Drive, Admiralty

By Invitation Only
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