Social Work is the the most competitive degree program for 2010 admissions at three of the local universities - in terms of the ratio of number of applicants to available places. We have a lot of fine young people in Hong Kong. But do we really have so many altruistic students?
There are two major employers of the 10,000 social workers in Hong Kong. One is the Social Welfare Department of the Government. Then there are the Non-Government Organizations, most of whom are subvented by the Government. Directly or indirectly, they are paid by the Government, who controls the market for social workers. Perhaps partly because of it, their salaries are higher than the average university graduates (by ~HK 2,000 based on the statistics from a university). Could this be one of the reasons so many students want to study Social Work?