10 Aug Impact Story – OnMyGrad – The Revolutionary Job-Finding Tool for Hong Kong University Students, Guiding Companies on Attracting Gen Z Talents
Talent surveys across various regions have illuminated a key insight regarding Gen Z university students—their aspiration for future fulfillment rests not solely in high-paying careers but rather in pursuing meaningful paths and a balanced life. However, businesses find themselves entrenched in an increasingly competitive environment compounded by talent shortage in Hong Kong. This confluence of challenges accentuates the critical need for identifying potential, adaptable, and resilient interns and fresh graduates who can thrive in an evolving business environment.
Founded in 2021, OnMyGrad (OMG) is a career learning platform tailored for university students and fresh graduates. It aims to empower companies to devise innovative recruitment strategies as a source of revenue while equipping users with career-building skills. Through various skill-sharing workshops and expert career guidance, OMG has garnered an active user base exceeding 20,000 individuals. It transitioned from a Facebook page initiated for casual engagement to a robust platform. An interview conducted with the founders by LBS further enriched the understanding of the evolving landscape of the "newbie" job market.
The three founders of OMG in their office in Wan Chai
Innovative Hiring Strategies for Empowering "The Best Fit" and Enhancing Resource Allocation in Organizations
The founding trio—Anthony So and Colin Wong, both university peers, and Jesse Chow, Anthony's post-graduation colleague—collaboratively embarked on this journey. Anthony's academic specialization in human resources paved the way for a career aligned with this expertise. His firsthand industry experience exposed him to numerous challenges faced by job seekers, including unorganized resumes, struggling to answer interview questions, difficulty in selecting from multiple job offers, and a lack of accurate knowledge of various industries and job responsibilities, impacting their career planning. Consequently, the innovative concept for the OMG platform took shape in Anthony's mind.
Initially, the trio shared employment-related insights, personal experiences, and skills exclusively on Facebook. Over time, their followers steadily increased until a pivotal turning point wherein a company privately reached out inquiring if OMG could assist in their recruitment efforts. This marked the formal inception of OMG's entry into the business market. The founders’ goal was to guide university newcomers in navigating the professional arena by utilizing their prior experiences and simultaneously assist companies in bridging gaps in hiring fresh graduates. OMG’s unique attribute lies in its ability to identify promising candidates through seemingly straightforward entry-level positions such as internships and fresh graduate roles, empowering students to highlight their strengths.
OMG’s key strength in designing recruitment strategies and promoting corporate image lies in understanding individuals and others. A notable testament to this is the collaboration with a large catering company that invited OMG to reimagine their onboarding materials. This led to a "work trial" experience in the restaurant, enabling OMG’s employees to delve hands-on into various roles such as food preparation, cashier duties, delivery, and cleaning. Anthony candidly shared, "I felt really tired after the work trial, but there was still a sense of fulfillment. Young people are in a stage of experiencing societal diversity, and they can try different roles through various job types. Whether for personal survival skills or mindset development, it is beneficial and harmless."
OMG’s approach to recruitment ensures that candidates are the right fit for their clients. Anthony believes that traditional methods, such as resume submissions, written tests, and multiple rounds of interviews, may not always align with specific company needs. However, given the widespread adoption of this process, job applicants have been trained to provide standardized response techniques. Although these standardized responses may impress recruiters, they may not accurately represent candidates’ potential or fit for the position.
OMG developed a distinctive interview format for a major corporation, where all interviewees must form teams and co-develop and present a project proposal on any topic. Anthony openly expressed his thoughts on this concept: "Companies should provide candidates with more opportunities to demonstrate their skills. This process allows us to gain deeper insights into their creative abilities, collaboration skills, project execution capabilities, and presentation aptitude. It is a ‘holistic education’ in a unique manner."
Anthony guiding students through the job-seeking process.
Embracing a New Era - Dispelling the "Myth" of Work-Life Balance
How has the epidemic affected the job market? Recent talent surveys reveal that graduates from Hong Kong universities increasingly prioritize a conducive work environment, professional growth prospects, and a healthy work-life balance over high salaries as their job preference.
Anthony shared, “Having heard the narratives of many employees and candidates, we have noticed a significant shift in the employer-employee relationships in the past three years. Young people in the workforce now seek a mutual selection process where both parties openly discuss their needs and capabilities. It is no longer a scenario wherein one side scrutinizes the other; it’s an equitable partnership. In essence, companies are elevating their hiring standards and governance practices while employees and candidates are aligning their personal aspirations and capabilities. This leads to either a perfect match or mutual elimination.
While the debate over work-from-home policy persists across the globe, Hong Kong employers prefer a return to office settings, emphasizing observable productivity. Despite often being questioned, the concept of work-life balance has given way to a stronger desire for work-life integration among a growing number of young employees. This approach allows them to manage their tasks and personal life at their own pace, provided deadlines are met.”
Since the market is still in upward growth, not everyone’s job search journey will necessarily conclude easily. In light of this, Collin kindly advised, “We have several decades ahead of us to play the role of an employee, so there’s no need to rush. Find the right position, and don’t overlook any opportunity along the way. Eventually, everyone will find the most suitable position for themselves.”
OMG recently launched the mobile application “OnMyGrad – A.I.職場學習”
Navigating Evolving Work Skills: Limitless Career Paths
The rapid strides of AI have sparked debates about job replacement. Anthony believes that while AI may replace certain roles, it will also create new ones. He suggests that we should start learning how to give precise instructions to AI in order to enhance our work efficiency. acknowledge this AI trend, although AI is still under-implemented. Nonetheless, users recognise the importance of continuous skill development and flexibility when choosing career paths, including work locations.
OMG’s social impact initiatives have been incubated in Hong Kong. Given OMG’s extensive influence, market expansion is a natural progression. Boston Consulting Group ("BCG"), a global consulting firm, has played a pivotal role in this growth journey through the pilot scheme of the BCG Social Impact Program. BCG provides leading business strategies to international corporations across diverse sectors, committed to creating sustainable competitive advantages and generating significant social impacts. As part of this commitment, BCG initiated a pro-bono consulting project to support OMG’s entry into Singapore—its first overseas market—by leveraging its expertise in business expansion. Singapore is the ideal choice for expansion, considering that Singapore and Hong Kong are financial hubs in Asia and share similar urban characteristics and development paths. Through extensive interviews with college students from various educational backgrounds in both cities, BCG collected basic information and conducted a thorough analysis. As a result, BCG identified differences in the two cities' recruitment markets and proposed targeted market expansion strategies. This included a go-to-market approach focused on traffic generation, user engagement, and community building.
"We mapped out the core needs of the fresh grads in Singapore, and mapped them to the core competencies of the OMG platform to find the product market fit. I am glad that what we produced was very actionable and it gave OMG a clear way forward on how to enter the Singapore market" commented Michael Chan, a consultant and project lead at BCG.
Building on the success of this consulting project, OMG is poised to launch the Career Booster Club 2023-24 in mid-August, simultaneously in Hong Kong and Singapore. This innovative platform will provide online classes, practical knowledge and a social networking space for university students eager to explore graduate job opportunities in both cities. Participants can establish a robust network, gain practical insights from alumni, and broaden their understanding of sectors such as Management Consulting, Technology & Engineering, Banking, Investment & Finance, Professional Services & Advisory, FMCG, Property & Conglomerate, and more.
SIP not only provides financial support to OMG but also acknowledges their valuable social impact. OMG serves as an integrated platform for university students, enabling them to receive information effectively and engage in mutual assistance. Additionally, they employ innovative recruitment methods to connect businesses with the most suitable talents. By adopting a youth perspective, OMG observes and understands diverse societal roles' needs and pain points. In recent years, OMG has maintained steady growth in the face of challenging job market. Many companies see 2023 as a promising juncture, and within this context, SIP envisions a continued advancement for OMG. This trajectory is poised to expand the spectrum of career opportunities and guidance to more students, thus enhancing the vibrancy of job market. SIP remains committed to supporting social enterprises in expanding and deepening their social impact through innovative approaches, enabling society to move further towards sustainable development across various domains.
Anthony delivering a speech at an industry event