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How To Get A Job In Hong Kong: Tips To Getting Back Into The Workforce

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Family LifePost Category - Family LifeFamily Life - Post Category - Career & MoneyCareer & Money

Whether you’re already employed or looking to start afresh, getting a job in Hong Kong can be daunting. A career coach who specialises in helping people get back to work has some expert tips.

Planning to move to Hong Kong – or have just arrived – and looking for a job? You might be tempted to immediately approach a recruitment agency and check online job boards. If you are a Chinese speaker, you are likely to find something via this route but panic may set in when you realise that the majority of employment options and jobs require proficiency in Cantonese and/or Mandarin. Not surprisingly, 95% of Hong Kong’s population is fluent in one or both of these languages, and those who fall outside of that will not be the primary target of many agencies.

At first glance, the odds may seem stacked against non-Chinese speakers, but many do secure employment in Hong Kong. We spoke with recruiters, HR professionals and others who have successfully secured jobs here to put together some tips to get you on your way to earning an income.

Read More: Making Friends In Hong Kong — How To Meet New People As Parents

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1. Jobs Boards And Employment Agencies

Let’s start with the usual suspects. Non-Chinese speakers should be aware of organisations that specifically target the expat market such as AsiaXPAT and niche recruitment agencies like FLEXImums which exists to help women who are seeking work. You can also use websites like LinkedIn and Glassdoor to search for opportunities. 

Furthermore, an increasing number of multinationals are developing specific back-to-work programs designed to access the talent pool of people who have had a career break – usually of two years or more – and are looking to return to the workplace. These can offer great opportunities to test the corporate waters (again!).

Read More: Coaches In Hong Kong — Where To Find The Guidance You Need

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2. Expand Your Network

Let’s assume, however, that 70% of jobs are not advertised. Simply relying on agencies and job boards will severely narrow the scope of your job search and your access to different opportunities. 

Hong Kong offers so many different ways which allow you to expand your personal and professional networks. Meetups range from storytelling groups to “funky salsa parties”, and offer great opportunities to both socialise with expats and locals alike. Various national Chambers of Commerce organise public events which are open to all. On Eventbrite, you are bound to come across many events that are of interest to you. You can also look to Women Of Hong Kong who host specific networking events connecting women from all walks of life. 

Read More: Business Advice For Mumtrepreneurs: How To Cope During Times Of Crisis

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3. Use Your Existing Network

Do not underestimate the value of your existing networks! These can be friends, people you meet dropping your kids off at school, or stretching next to you at a yoga class. Hong Kong is a big city, with a surprisingly small community when you get into it. It’s not unheard of for job opportunities to come up through friends of friends and acquaintances.

“When my daughter was little, I became friends with another mum dropping her child off at a playgroup. Soon, I was approached about a job by the HR director of a company who was an acquaintance of this lady’s husband!” — Nerice Gietel

Read More: Teaching Kids To Earn, Invest And Save Money In Hong Kong

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4. Show Off Your Skills

It is one thing to expand your network, but people also need to see what you are made of. Explore freelancing opportunities, for example on JobDoh and WHub. Alternatively, consider ‘skills-based volunteering’ if your job search is taking longer than you hope.  In this way, you spend time using your skills to support a charity or other organisation. This will also allow you to expand your network, show people what you can do, keep your skills fresh and add value to something you care about. Local Motion is a Hong Kong-based organisation which explicitly works to connect people with such opportunities. Whilst they have been affected by the pandemic they are keen to restart connecting people with opportunities again. Also, do not be shy about approaching local charities and NGOs directly.

Read More: Summer Internship And Jobs In Hong Kong For Teens

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5. Stay Tuned To What Fellow Expats Are Following

Sassy Mama is a good place to start! Other than this website, you will find job opportunities come up in expat-friendly organisations, such as digital media publications, international schools, forums targeting expats from a particular country and more.

Use LinkedIn, it really does work! It allows you to expand your network and gives people a quick and easy insight into who you are and what you can do for them. Given that so many jobs are not advertised, a lot of employers are proactive in directly seeking out people with the skills that they need. Keeping your LinkedIn profile up-to-date and professional – and backed up with a strong CV – is a must.

Read More: The Ultimate Guide To International Schools In Hong Kong

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6. Consider Working With A Coach

Finally, all of the advice above rests on the assumption that you are clear about your career goals and aspirations. Knowing these can help give you direction and motivation in your job search. However, if you have moved countries, or taken a break from work, all of this might not be so clear. A certified coach can work with you to enable you to define your goals and design a workable strategy for you to get there.

Read More: Interview Tips: How To Land Your Dream Job

Editor’s Note: “How To Get A Job In Hong Kong: Tips To Getting Back Into The Workforce” was most recently updated in February 2023 by Nerice Gietel.

  Main image courtesy of Getty, image 1 courtesy of Brooke Cagle on Unsplash, image 2 courtesy of Getty, image 3 courtesy of Pexels, image 4 courtesy of Christina @ via Unsplash, image 5 courtesy of Pexels, image courtesy of Amy Hirschi on Unsplash

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