Labor market in Hong Kong


Hong Kong's labor market is rather open towards foreign professionals. Here is how to proceed to find a job there.

As one of China's Special Administrative Regions, Hong Kong is with no doubt the country's most developed and prosperous city. Thanks to its rich economy, which is mainly driven by the tertiary sector, it provides many career prospects for foreign professionals. So if you intend to move there, you should not have much trouble in finding a job. But before proceeding, it is best to inquire on its labor market's requirements and on working conditions as these may largely differ from many countries.


As mentioned above, Hong Kong's economy mainly relies on the tertiary sector. Indeed, agriculture is almost nonexistent in Hong Kong while the manufacturing industry is quite insignificant. The tertiary sector, for its part, accounts for more than 90% of the region's Gross Domestic Product (GDP). In fact, Hong Kong is deemed to be a services hub for Asian companies, providing 85% of employment opportunities.

On the other hand, financial services and tourism are rapidly developing sectors in Hong Kong.

Working conditions

A legal working week in Hong Kong generally consists of 40 to 48 hours, that is around 8 hours per day depending on the number of working days. Night shifts, for their part, start around 7 pm and end at 7 am the next day. Note that odd hours are not paid in Hong Kong, although workers often have to work beyond normal office hours.

You will also be entitled to a rest day per week. The number of paid local holidays is determined by the employer and mentioned in the employment contract. Nevertheless, you will enjoy 12 public holidays.

The minimum salary in Hong Kong, since May 2011, is of HKD 20 per hour.

Find a job

Currently, many fields are open towards foreign expertise. Hence, you are likely to be hired by the following, provided you have required qualifications and skills: finance, automotive manufacturing, information and communication technology, tourism, trade and teaching. Light industries are also deemed to be a real job mine for foreigners although these mainly consist of small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

As regards your job hunt in Hong Kong, you will probably start by browsing offers on the Internet. In fact, given that Hong Kong is a developed and modern region, employers are more likely to publish vacancies on several specialized job websites. But you might as well check out for offers in classified ads in local newspapers or on professional social networks. Feel free to seek help from foreign Chambers of Commerce that can provide you with a list of local and international companies to which you can send spontaneous job applications.

Basically, networking is the best way to land a job in Hong Kong. Hence, if you have friends or contacts on the spot, they might be of help. Why not start building your network well in advance with foreign associations and organizations in Hong Kong? Finally, you can register with a recruiter agency which can help you find a job according to your profile.

Work permit

You must have received a job offer to be able to apply for a work permit in Hong Kong. Note that you will be eligible to a work permit provided you have a clean criminal record, that you have required qualifications and previous experience related to the job you are seeking, that vacancies are relevant to your skills and that required skills are not available locally.

Note, moreover, that the work permit has a single year's validity and allows you to perform a single job for the same employer who will be requesting it from the Immigration Department. The work permit, therefore, has to be requested before your arrival in Hong Kong.

Social security

There is no social security scheme in Hong Kong, but in case of occupational accidents, workers are entitled to a professional insurance. In some cases, employment contracts include a clause regarding the provision of medical care to employees. Make sure to check out this clause before signing your contract.

On the other hand, you are free to subscribe to an individual insurance, regardless of your professional situation and of your employer.

 Useful links:

Labor Department
Social Welfare Department
Immigration Department – Admission schemes for professionals and entrepreneurs
Labor Department – Job Hunting Guide

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See also

Setting up a business in Hong Kong has almost become a trend for foreigner as it is not a difficult task, consisting of only three main steps.
Hong Kong is a very popular destination for foreign students and young professionals looking for internship opportunities abroad.
The Working Holiday Visa (WHV) is available for young students and professionals wishing to stay for a year in Hong Kong.
Hong Kong, one of China's largest cities, enjoys a thriving economy. It offers many business opportunities to expatriates in the fields of financial services, tourism, trade, exports, etc.
Hong Kong hosts several types of higher education institutions, including post-secondary schools, universities, vocational schools, etc.

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