Impact of precarious employment on retirement planning for young workers and their parents: the case of Hong Kong

Ka Ki CHAN*, Tat Chor Au-Yeung

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: Retirement protection has been widely debated in Hong Kong over two decades. The debate about the relationship between social insecurity and retirement protection, and provoked consideration of a choice between a rights-based universal retirement system and means-tested protection for senior citizens are still contested. This study aims to explore the understanding and behaviours of young workers regarding retirement planning, their difficulties and worries with the implementation of providing support for their parents' retirement. Design/methodology/approach: This was an exploratory study to target young workers aged 20–34 years to participate. Qualitative data presented in this study were drawn from 16 young workers. Seven were female and nine were male young workers. Findings: The research found that young workers who have a relatively low level of income, particularly for non-standard workers and the self-employed, both are likely to find difficulties to contribute to their own retirement planning and their parents' retirement with the emerging problems of job insecurity and instability. Young working people in lower socio-classes have further limited choices and control over their own retirement planning, as well as providing support for their parents' retirement that may cause a breach of intergenerational contract. Originality/value: With the increasing number of young workers with precarious employment or unemployment, this study has contributed to a shift in views regarding intergenerational contracts, particularly in the need to support other generations of family members in a contemporary Hong Kong society.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1278-1289
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Sociology and Social Policy
Issue number11-12
Early online date12 Feb 2021
Publication statusPublished - 2 Nov 2021

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance(all)

User-Defined Keywords

  • Hong Kong
  • Parents
  • Precarious employment
  • Retirement planning
  • Young workers


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