Dr. Lau Yun Cheung, SERA Honorary Vice Chancellor and Director of the Chu Kong Shipping Enterprises Holding, participated in the filming of SERA’s Social Sustainability Project-“Tomorrow is Now”, and shared about the difficulties and challenges faced by the Seafaring industry, as well as some views on the future discoveries of the industry. Dr. Lau even wrote an article titled “Sustainable Enterprise Development-Nurturing Talents”, sharing his views and suggestions on sustainable enterprise development and talent cultivation. Please see the following for the article:
“Sustainable Enterprise Development- Nurturing Talents” by Dr. Lau Yun Cheung (Translated version)
In the recent years, Hong Kong is facing severe manpower aging, difficulty in attracting the new generation to join the industry, simultaneous retirements, shortage of hands, and lack of access to the problem of hand shortages in technical, labor, and service types of work in Hong Kong; in addition, a large number of infrastructure projects are currently undergoing. And the development of some large-scale maritime infrastructure (for example, the third runway project of the airport) has also created a strong demand for local labor.
To achieve sustainable development, education must be reformed. The current education lacks self-inspiration and exploration of personal potential/capabilities. On the other hand, for the young generation to grow up in primary and secondary schools, they only focus on lessons in books and pursuing scores. Career planning is only oriented to professionals-such as doctors, lawyers, accountants, or other more “prestige” occupations, etc…. But this can only cater for less than 5% of the students and their needs. For most students who failed to enter the professional industry, they are lacking of the career orientation for jobs from other industries. At the same time, there is a complete lack of opportunities to provide students with engineering learning and other development opportunities. As a result, most of the younger generation are being neglected unless they are outstanding students, which only a few can achieve. The neglected ones could not use their own potential/capabilities to find a more possible development path and would not have the idea to invest in jobs of different classes and different industries in the future.
Moreover, the new generation of society, their parents and the government have ignored “blue-collar” work and its functions and benefits in society. In addition, the excessive competition among enterprises in the past 20 years has greatly reduced the number of companies. Nonetheless, negative images of inadequate management, retrogressive services, and low wages in “blue-collar” industries created from the lack of building corporate image, service, attitude, training resources, making it more difficult to attract younger people to join the industry.
Therefore, if it is necessary to cater for the needs of sustainable development in society, the first priority is to develop a diversified and balanced education system to cater for the future needs of different students and society, and to provide future social leaders with opportunities from books to craftsmanship. The younger generation of students should be nurtured and trained in various aspects during their growth, so that they can respond to their own potential and craft their potential development path. In the future, they can invest in different types of jobs from all walks of life, so that the society can be balanced and sustainable.
Enterprises must also allocate additional resources to supplement the younger generation for their lack of career path guidance, so that they can find their own potential and inspire them to grow and mature to meet the needs of society and enterprises.
Therefore, it is necessary to continuously improve the corporate image in the enterprise. At the same time, it should be considered to have a certain amount of resources invested in corporate image, service, attitude, training, and wage costs, so as to maintain a positive image in the industry with value, to attract the new generation to join the industry. On the other hand, it is necessary to continuously promote the development and opportunities of the industry to the younger generation and even teachers through career planning lectures, so that the new generation can recognize and acknowledge the other paths that they can walk, instead of joining only the elite occupations.
Under the influence of the epidemic, the transformation of Hong Kong and the international community will have a short-term impact on basic services and types of work. Once economic activities resume, the recovery period of related industries is expected to be relatively fast and short, although the current operating environment is quite severe. But there must also be continuous resources devoted to personnel training and education, especially for the new generation. If there is no continuous training and education of the company, it is difficult for the younger generation to inspire themselves, discover their personal potential, invest and master their work as soon as possible, and give full play to their strengths! At the same time, companies can also borrow from this “crisis” (the epidemic) to transform it to “opportunity”, so to enable the industry to develop continuously.