The CRF project (Ref. No. C7086-21G) examines the education, social and health impacts of COVID-19 pandemic on university graduates transitioning to the workforce in Hong Kong. It focuses on four cohorts of graduates: 2020, 2021, 2022 and 2023. University graduates are considered a vulnerable demographic group in the workforce, and the pandemic has worsened this situation as graduates have faced a suppressed job market, layoffs, and having to demonstrate a new ‘skills set’ required by the workplaces (e.g. more advanced digital skills; mental resilience). Graduates’ workplace transitions are an important societal issue as unsuccessful transitions incur huge financial and social costs, including the cost of poor mental health.
The project involves local and global collaborations, with co-investigators from Hong Kong NGOs and business organizations, as well as researchers from universities in the United Kingdom. The project will utilize a mixed-methods approach to interview and survey students, graduates, employers, and university staff. We are also interested in identifying the skills and competencies that students are expected to have as they transition into the workforce during such a difficult time, and also post-pandemic.
Ultimately, we hope to use the findings from the project to develop evidence-based support strategies and resources to assist graduates with successful workplace transitions. These resources will support the development of core competencies required in the post-COVID-19 workplaces, including digital, linguistic, interpersonal competencies and mental health resilience.
Our research has been approved by the HKU Human Research Ethics Committee [HKU Ethics ID: EA200104].