From Bonding to Bridging: Building Social Cohesion between Mainland Talents and Hong Kong Professionals

Project: Research project

Project Details


This study aims to understand mainland talents’ experiences of the social incidents in 2014 and 2019 and identify the effective way of enhancing intergroup contact between mainland talents and Hong Kong professionals. From May to October 2020, we have successfully interviewed a total of 354 mainland talents, including 30 through focus groups and in-depth interviews and 324 through an online survey. Our results have revealed that several barriers, including different political stances, discrimination and stereotypes and segregated lifestyle and culture, constrain the intergroup contact between mainland talents and Hong Kong professionals. Political conflicts of the social incident in 2019 further exacerbated their fragile relationship. Moreover, mainland and Hong Kong professionals skillfully avoid discussing political issues in their workplace. In other words, political conflicts seldom affect their professional cooperation. Mainland talents have highly appreciated the expertise and experience of their Hong Kong counterparts. Professional collaboration in the workplace provides a solid foundation for intergroup contact between mainland talents and Hong Kong professionals. Completion of the work tasks is the ultimate common goal shared by mainland talents and Hong Kong professionals. Hong Kong’s international environment and merit-based institutions also facilitate intergroup interaction. Based on research findings, this research suggests, first, public policy should focus on promoting professional exchange between mainland and Hong Kong professionals at workplace and professional associations. Through various professional exchange activities, mainland talents and Hong Kong professionals can understand other’s practices and explore collaborative opportunities. Second, promotion of workplace diversity can also blur the socio-political fault lines between mainland talents and Hong Kong professionals. In the short run, public policy may promote equal opportunities and improve ethnic minority labour market participation in Hong Kong, especially professional positions. In the long run, Hong Kong shall stick to international standard of good governance and attract more multinational companies and global talents come to the city. Finally, public policy shall encourage universities enhance the multicultural opportunities for students, and nurture their cultural competence. More importantly, public policy should encourage universities and business sector to provide internship and mentoring schemes for all non-local students. By doing so, non-local students, including those from mainland China, are able to learn workplace culture in Hong Kong, and further seek employment opportunities from diverse companies.

Funding Source: HKSAR Govt - Public Policy Research Funding Scheme (PPR) (Special Round)
Effective start/end date20/03/2119/10/21


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