Finding Work in Hong Kong for Foreigners
Hong Kong has long been a place for expats to live and work. Whilst in the past it was mainly those who worked in the banking and financial sector that came here, in 2016 this has now extended to pretty much any field you care to think of.
Of course, the financial sector is still well and flourishing, with Hong Kong having one of the highest concentrations of banking institutions anywhere in the world. But now, many expats also work in other industries too.
The Right to Live and Work Here
The first thing that needs to be considered is ensuring you have the correct paperwork. This means complying to the various officialdom necessary to live and work here. In other words, you’ll need a visa.
Depending on the reason you’re moving to Hong Kong, you’ll need to follow the correct process to ensure that you have the right to be here. If you’re really lucky, the company that’s going to employ you will sort all this out as part of your relocation package.
What About Competition from Chinese and Local Talent?
Since Hong Kong was handed back to China in 1997, competition for jobs here from locals and the Chinese has definitely increased.
Much of this is due to the fact that employers now have to prove that they can’t fill a position with a local employee to be able to offer it to a foreigner. But although this has made finding work more of a challenge for those from other countries, it’s certainly not impossible by any means.
Apart from the Financial Sector, What other Fields of Work are Available?
Well, that’s pretty much any sector you’d care to think of. From positions in IT to Sales, Marketing to HR, teaching to medical, engineering to telecommunications, there’s everything and anything available. These are not only at the higher and more qualified levels; there are also more junior positions on offer too.
Do I need to Speak Chinese to Get a Job in Hong Kong?
In the financial world, pretty much all business is carried out in English. You’ll probably read all sorts of blurb (especially online) that might tell you that English is the only language you need to get by when working in Hong Kong.
Let’s get real here (and up to date), because although English is certainly one of the two official languages in HK, with Cantonese Chinese being the second, in 2016, knowledge of either Cantonese or Mandarin will definitely improve your chances of nailing a job.
Plus, if you’re going to live in Hong Kong, having at least a basic knowledge of Chinese will make the experience far more fulfilling – and it’s fun learning to speak another language (even if you only ever manage the basics.)
Where can I Find Job Openings in Hong Kong?
This is likely to be fairly similar to a job hunt anywhere else in the world. Today, that usually starts online. Check out websites such as Jobs DB, Monster Hong Kong and Recruit Hong Kong. You can also upload your CV to allow employers to seek you out and contact you for any position they feel you may be able to fill.
Be sure to register for job alerts, so you can get pinged by email as soon as a job is posted.
For those who work in particular sectors, then it’s always worth checking out the large corporations who have a presence in Hong Kong. HSBC and Citibank are two obvious choices for those who work in the financial sector.
For teachers, then Teach Away and Asia Teaching Jobs are a good first port of call. In the teaching industry, it’s always worth checking out the many international schools directly to see what posts they have on offer.
Most will have a careers page where any teaching opportunities will be posted. These will probably be more up to date than the ones on employment websites, so definitely worth doing.
What Can I Do To Enhance my Chances of Landing a Job in Hong Kong?
The first thing you need to do is ensure that your CV is fully up to date, and of the best quality it can possibly be. If you’re not experienced in doing this yourself, then it’s well worth getting a professional service to revamp it for you.
Rather than this being a wasted amount of money, it really is worth the cost. After all, with jobs today being hard-fought, no matter where they might be in the world, your CV and covering letter are what get you through that all important first stage ‘paper sift’ that every job seeker has to get through.
There are many companies out there that can help you with both your CV and a generic covering letter/email that you can edit to make job specific. Check out Purple CV, The CV Centre or CV Lizard for more information.
I’ve heard that there are great perks to working in Hong Kong?
In the past, expats were offered many perks to take a job in Hong Kong. These might have included accommodations, a car, healthcare, membership to exclusive clubs, chauffeurs, private education for the kids, and home leave.
However, since the hand back from Britain to China, and the increased competition from the local and Chinese workforce, such perks are now only offered for the most senior of positions. Today, it’s common to have to sort out your own accommodations, medical insurance and annual home leave.
Be sure to check out the official Hong Kong Government website that will provide you with all the official stats you need to begin your Hong Kong employment search. From visas to employment law, this is the place to go to get all the information you need for non-residents to live and work in Hong Kong.
The main thing to understand about finding work in Hong Kong for expats is that it really is still possible. It just might be a little more difficult than it has been historically. Approach the job hunt in the manner you would in your home country, and you stand just as much of a chance of securing a position here. Good luck, and happy hunting!