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Finding work in Hong Kong

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As one of China's Special Administrative Regions, Hong Kong is without a 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. If you intend to move to Hong Kong for work, make sure to spend enough time learning about the region’s labour market’s requirements, in-demand skills and employment procedures, which differ significantly from those of Mainland China.

Hong Kong's economy

As mentioned above, Hong Kong's economy mainly relies on the tertiary sector —it's one of the world’s leading financial centres. The region’s economy is characterised as a free-trade economy and is highly dependent on international trade. Hong Kong is a well-established port and has no tariffs on imported goods. Low taxation and developed infrastructure attract a lot of foreign investment into the city. Hong Kong is deemed to be a services hub for Asian companies, providing 85% of employment opportunities. The city is home to some of China’s biggest companies like Li & Fung, China Taiping Insurance, WH Group and others.

Working conditions

The first thing you might notice upon arriving in Hong Kong and, especially, if you start working in the city is its incredibly fast pace — Hong Kong is often called “the 24-hour city”. While a legal working week generally consists of 40 to 48 hours — that is around 8 hours per day depending on the number of working days, employees often have to stay behind after the established working hours — this is common practice in the city. Overtime is generally unpaid in Hong Kong and some employers may ask you to occasionally come into work on Saturdays and Sundays. However, you are entitled to at least one day of rest per week. The number of paid local holidays is determined by the employer and mentioned in the employment contract. In general, you can get ready to enjoy 12 public holidays. Night shifts, for their part, start around 7 pm and end at 7 am the next day.

The minimum wage in Hong Kong since May 2017 is HK$34.5 per hour for non-domestic workers. Salaries among expat professionals vary, but, HSBC's 2016 Expat Explorer survey estimates that Hong Kong expats earn around USD 170,000 a year (on average). According to the survey, ESL teachers and marketing managers earn around 33,000HKD monthly, mid-level financial managers make around 40,000 HKD while project managers in IT bring back about 50,000 a month.

Finding a job in Hong Kong

Job-hunting in Hong Kong is much simplified compared to Mainland China as you will have plenty of English job websites and professional recruitment agencies to help you. Many fields are open towards foreign expertise. Depending on your background and skillset, you are most likely to be hired in the fields of finance, IT, marketing, 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).

The easiest way to go about finding a job is through 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 specialised job hunting websites.

But you might as well check out for offers in classified ads in local newspapers or on professional social networks — your updated Linkedin profile can be a good source of leads. 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.

Networking is a big part of the job hunting process — thus, having friends or contacts on the spot would be of great help. Check out local expat meet-ups, attend business conferences and exhibitions and maybe even join a foreign association or organisation to expand your social and professional circles.

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 for a work permit provided you have a clean criminal record, required qualifications and previous experience related to the job you are seeking. The vacancy you are seeking should be relevant to your skills, and those skills should not be available locally.

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. Find more information on Hong Kong’s working permit in our article on Visas for 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:

Labour Department
Immigration Department – Admission schemes for professionals and entrepreneurs
Labor Department – Job Hunting Guide
Recruit.com
Monster Hong Kong
Linked In
Classified Post
Indeed
Gigajob

We do our best to provide accurate and up to date information. However, if you have noticed any inaccuracies in this article, please let us know in the comments section below.
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Member since 01 June 2008
Small earth, Mauritius
1 Comment
Efshan
Efshan
2 years ago

thnks for sharing (y)

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See also

Hong Kong is a very popular destination for foreign students and young professionals looking for internship opportunities abroad.
Setting up a business in Hong Kong is popular with expats due to the advantages it affords (such as its proximity to mainland China) and the simple process
Hong Kong inhabitants' lifestyle is a bright mixture of modernism with Chinese traditions and customs which you can discover during your stay.

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