Author: Harry Tsang Cheuk Nam
I am writing to express my opinions on a recent claim that many Hong Kong fresh university graduates are less hard working and less willing to face challenges in the workplace compared to those in the past. Studying in university is believed to be the process of equipping oneself with working skills and knowledge, so it is rather surprising that such claim is being made. I strongly disagree with that claim and there is full of misunderstanding.
While there are lots of evidence to show that fresh graduates nowadays are diligent, if not more hardworking than those in the past, the most notable aspect would be the change of working style in today’s workplace. It is because the working style of employees has radically changed. Some seniors may not regard the younger employees’ work as ‘serious’ work. For example, office workers used to do most of their work on paper, but paperwork has been replaced by computers. The predecessors may relate using computers to ‘idling’ or ‘surfing the Net’, but that is a big misconception. Being different from the past does not reflect real productivity necessarily while having access to the information superhighway has certainly helped save time required to complete the same task.
Moreover, the change in work attitude also contributes to the stereotyping against fresh young graduates. It is inevitable that the philosophy of young people towards work and life, in general, is very different from the past. Long working hours used to be the golden rule that defines hard work, but nowadays it is deemed ‘outdated’ and ‘unnecessary’. In the modern world, working overtime is associated with inefficient work and low productivity. In other words, most employers expect a worker to be able to finish the assigned job by the end of the day or within a given timeframe. Extended work hours only reflect a person’s inability to do that. Moreover, finishing work on time also has positive effects on work-life balance which can lower a number of employees’ sick leave days and improve productivity. In short, working within a certain time frame is a sign of resilience instead of laziness and lack of industriousness.
On top of that, fresh graduates are more creative than that of the past. A considerable portion of repeated work can be replaced by artificial intelligence, thanks to the advancement of technology so that we can focus more on creativity in the workplace. Jobs like accountants can be replaced by computers, but the only thing computers cannot substitute is creativity. These young people can create a more dynamic, innovative and efficient work culture that benefits everyone. If that is not a sign of willingness to face challenges, what is?
It is often argued that young people spend most of their time on a computer and lack people skills. They are not very cooperative with others compared to graduates in the past. However, this is a false argument. They spend time on the computer to work and when it comes to team projects, they are willing to do more for the team instead of waiting for others to finish the job for them. Computer skills are especially important in the digital age, Works from contacting a client to replying a complaint can be done on a computer, so they tend to spend more time on a computer to complete their tasks. They are willing to go the extra mile to work not only for themselves but also for the team members.
In conclusion, although many think that Hong Kong university fresh graduates are less hard working and less willing to face challenges compared to those in the past, it is important to realize that the working style and philosophy have changed so that the old standard may no longer apply in the modern world. These new graduates’ mode of working may not appeal to everyone, but that is the work spirit and attitude necessary to lead the society forward.