So you want to work in Hong Kong? Well, good for you, because the city is perhaps one of the most vibrant, exciting locations on the planet – and it’s a great fit for many stages of your life.
Perhaps you’re in your twenties and are looking to advance your career whilst living in a fun place. Maybe you’re a couple, or perhaps with a young family. Hong Kong is constantly cited as a great place to bring up kids.
Whatever your situation, Hong Kong offers some great employment opportunities. It’s long been a popular destination for expats, and the job market remains buoyant. According to the Hudson HK Hiring Report of 2015, 52.1 per cent of employers were intending to increase their permanent staff numbers.
What industry sectors are hiring in Hong Kong?
Historically, the financial sector has been where most expats work. And while this still holds true, the 21st century also offers various other fields in which to search for work in Hong Kong. These include legalities, HR, IT, accounting, sales & marketing, auditing, regulatory reporting, and digital advertising.
Very often, large companies will recruit expat workers from other countries, and then relocate them to Hong Kong. However, it is still possible to find work once out there – just be sure that you’ve the correct visa and work permits you need.
Do I need to speak Chinese?
In a word, no. However, if you do have any skills in Mandarin or Cantonese, this will be an advantage. But most business (especially in the financial sector) is carried out in English.
So how should I start my search?
Because so many positions are filled internally by the largest global companies, one way is to get your foot in a door with such an organization. HSBC is one such option, as is Allianz and Citi Group. In general, the more senior a position, the more likely it is to be filled via a head hunter or recruitment agency, unless they have preferred internal candidates. So registering with a few good recruitment agencies is a must.
Connected Group finds quality employees for the healthcare, banking, legal, consumer and manufacturing industries. Gemini Personnel Ltd has been around for many years and places staff in a variety of sectors. Egron Zhender is an senior management and executive agency that specializes in the HR, communications, environmental, finance, technology and legal sectors.
What about looking online?
Absolutely! That’s the great thing about living in our technologically savvy times. No company or recruitment agency worth its salt doesn’t have an online presence. And that means that you can begin your employment search from the comfort of your own living room.
Websites such as Reed, Monster and Indeed are all good places to begin your search. Plus such sites offer excellent employment tools, such as help with your CV, the ability to upload your CV so prospective employers can find you, and a free job alert system so you get pinged with an email or text as soon as a possible job is advertised.
How do I prepare for my job search?
Well, even if you’re looking for a more junior level position, you need to ensure that you’re ready to pounce as soon as a suitable job becomes available. That means that it’s essential to have a well-written, up to date CV that will stand out from the crowd.
The thing about CVs is that in today’s highly competitive job market, if yours isn’t extra special, then you might not even make it past the initial paper sift – even if you’re the perfect candidate for the position.
If you’ve not had much experience in producing a great CV, the above mentioned employment websites all offer such services, although you’ll likely have to pay a charge. Or you can choose to go with a specialist CV preparation company, such as The CV Centre or Purple CV.
You’ll also notice that there are many CV template offerings online. However, these free services are really only suitable for those at the very beginning of their job search – if you want to stand out from the crowd then it really is worth paying a professional to help make yours amazing.
I work in the education sector. Can I find a job in Hong Kong?
Absolutely! There are a plethora of good international schools in Hong Kong. This means that expat teachers are needed. To find situations vacant in this sector, the best place to search is on the actual school websites.
In addition to working in the private sector, the Hong Kong Government is encouraging native English speakers to take up placements in local Hong Kong schools. This is called the Native English Teacher Scheme, and certainly offers additional opportunities in Hong Kong for those qualified in the education sector.
What benefits can I expect from living and working in Hong Kong?
Hong Kong probably needs no introduction. But in a nutshell, moving to this amazing city will offer many things. You’ll enjoy a truly international lifestyle – around 7 million people live here, and as you can imagine, there’s a whole host of restaurants offering food from around the world, nightlife is fabulous, and if you like shopping, then you’re truly going to be in seventh heaven.
One huge advantage of working here is that the city really is one of the major business hubs in the Asia Pacific region. In addition, the continued increasing Chinese market means that opportunities should only continue to increase as well.
Much has been invested into the infrastructure. There’s a wonderful transport system called the MTR. Hong Kong Airport provides an easy way to get to pretty much any other part of the world. Taxis are cheap and plentiful, technology is about as up to date as anywhere on the planet, healthcare (both private and state) is excellent, as is education. All in all, Hong Kong offers those who live here – both expats and locals – a fabulous quality of life.
Although it’s become slightly tougher for expats to find work in Hong Kong since it was handed back to the Chinese, the opportunities still abound. Whatever sector you work in, there’s sure to be something on offer. Do your homework, ensure your CV is ready to go and get applying – this could well be the first step to your new life in Hong Kong…