An important rite of passage for your teenager!
Summer jobs allow teens to bring in their own cash and take accountability for their spending and saving. This is often every parent’s dream as it can prevent them from heading to the bank of mum and dad for a withdrawal! A job also helps keep teens busy during the summer, building routines, skills, and valuable real-world insight with an experience they can’t learn in school.
In this city we call home, finding a job as a teen can be easier said than done, as many require fluency in Cantonese (although we found a few that don’t). Either way, we’ve pulled together a list of places with summer jobs in Hong Kong to keep your teen busy – whether they just want some extra cash or want to get a head start building a resume. We’ve also provided resources to help find out what will suit them most, and while we focus on mainly summer positions, the good news is a lot of these opportunities can be extended year-round.
Editor’s note: With the pandemic and social distancing restrictions, some of these organisations are taking in fewer applications than before and job vacancies tend to fill up fast. Don’t be disheartened if you’ve missed the bus this summer – instead, bookmark this page and keep a watch out for job openings as soon as they are announced.
Typical Summer Jobs
For a lot of us who were raised outside Hong Kong, the first thing we picture when we think of summer jobs is waiting tables or tearing tickets at the local movie theatre. So let’s start with those types of gigs and a few other options available around the city.
Known for its great working environment, Starbucks is a good option for a teen looking for something to do – plus, they’ll learn how to brew a decent cup of coffee (always useful for when mama needs a cuppa at home!). Starbucks in Hong Kong does come with a couple of basic requirements, though. To work as a barista for Starbucks, you will need to be able to speak Cantonese and you must be 17 or older. If you’re interested in what opportunities Starbucks has to offer, check out its website.
A Hong Kong staple, 7-Eleven is everywhere and it does hire for the summer. Unfortunately, it won’t hire anyone under the age of 18. But if you have an 18-year-old (or a teen home from university) looking for a way to earn some extra cash, 7-Eleven is on the hunt for shop assistants who take care of all the everyday tasks that keep the store running smoothly. Like Starbucks, a command of Cantonese is a must. If interested in 7-Eleven, there’s no need to schedule an interview (although you can apply online if you want), managers will do walk-in interviews at its recruitment centre in Lai Chi Kok (Monday through Friday from 9am until 5pm, except on public holidays). All your teen needs to do is show up at the address below with proof of education and employment history for the walk-in interview.
Broadway Circuit Cinemas
Does your teen love movies? Then this summer job is a great option. Broadway Circuit Cinemas is looking for teens in Form 5 or above (the equivalent to grade 11 in US schools) to be Cinema Service Assistants (both full and part-time) – though there are other opportunities as well. The job requires a command of both Cantonese and Mandarin (along with English, of course). The best part? Employees get free movie tickets! If your teen is interested, they can email their resume, expected salary and date available to [email protected] or contact online.
If your older kid is a little more independent and is obsessed with dogs, they should check out Pawshake – an online community connecting pet owners to pet sitters and walkers. Anyone over the age of 18 can sign up as a sitter by simply filling out its quick and easy online application form. Once approved, you set up your own sitter profile and then it’s up to you to decide what services you want to offer. You’re responsible for finding your own clients and making your own schedule, and you have full control over who you work with. It also has a handy app for your phone to help you manage your schedule and stay on top of your commitments. As summer jobs go, this one is paw-fect!
Retail, Food & Beverage
Working in the retail or F&B space is another great way for teens to get into the work world. Teens can find a brand that they like and often get great employee perks along with a steady paycheque. Depending on the location of these shops or restaurants, speaking Cantonese may not always be a requirement but it is always an asset. Some current retail and F&B companies that are hiring this summer are Footlocker, Feather & Bone, Gourmet Dining Group (GDG), Brasserie.
Babysitting or Tutoring
If your teen loves kids, offering babysitting services and/or tutoring services to families is a hot industry to get into. Hong Kong families are often looking for a little extra care or education for their kids and if your teen is a native English speaker there may be some great opportunities for them. Suggest to your teen to put up a few posters around your neighbourhood or clubhouse or make use of social media groups like the Hong Kong Teen PT Facebook Group.
If none of the above options appeals to you or your teen, check out the below opportunities. These summer jobs are more focused on gaining experience than anything else and, as such, most of them are unpaid.
Justice Centre’s Young Advocates Programme
The Justice Centre runs the Young Advocates Programme every summer for students (14 to 18 years) who are enrolled in local Hong Kong-based programmes. The three-week programme is aimed at students who are interested in law, human rights, government, social policy and NGO management. Students are provided with the opportunity to engage in external meetings and events, learn about human rights campaigns, participate in a variety of legal tasks, and even work on their own projects. If your teen is interested in a law career, this is a must.
Kids4Kids hosts a range of volunteer or internship activities for kids throughout the year, but come summertime it also has a series of internships ranging from two to eight weeks from June to August. Aside from regular operational tasks, teens will have the opportunity to help out in a variety of areas from editorial tasks to translating to graphic design. Roles include communication, graphic art and design, development and video production. If your teen is interested in the organisation, there are a host of volunteer opportunities over the summer, and they can also check out the Advocates Leadership Team, which is a group of 15 youth volunteers chosen to work with Kids4Kids on community projects that they organise throughout the year.
Music for Life
Music for Life is a local organisation that uses music therapy to improve physical and mental wellbeing. It sees patients whose problems range from mental health issues and dementia to pre and postnatal care. It offers non-paid internships for students who wish to learn more about music therapy. The job is mostly admin work, but those who are accepted can sit in on music therapy workshops. Students must be 16 or older and should be available for at least two months. They would require basic computer skills and be able to both read and write in Cantonese and English (Mandarin would be beneficial as well). Bonus points if your teen has basic video editing skills. Preference is usually given to those of university level, but the organisation is open to hiring high school students as well. Find more information on application dates and internship periods here.
Faust International Youth Theatre
Faust International Youth Theatre is a well-known local Hong Kong organisation that offers challenging and creative workshops for students who want to learn more about theatre. It runs internships year-round in the form of Student Leaders (for students ages 16 and up) and Assistant Leaders (for students ages 18 and up). During the school year, these positions are primarily Saturday morning and afternoon jobs. Over the summer, it hires students as theatre assistants for its week-long summer theatre programmes. These summer jobs require a full week of work (Monday to Friday, 10 am to 12:30 pm or 2pm to 4:30pm) and end with an open session for families and friends. Check out its website for more details. Interested candidates can email [email protected] with their CV and a cover letter.
Faust International Youth Centre, 5/F, Nan Dao Commercial Building, 359 & 361 Queen’s Road Central, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong, 2457 9799, Recruitment direct line: 2547 9114, [email protected], www.faustworld.com
The Society for the Relief of Disabled Children
Committed to improving the lives of disabled children in Hong Kong, The Society for the Relief of Disabled Children (SRDC) offers a unique internship programme for students aged 16 years and over. The programme requires a 6-week commitment of 24 hours per week in which teens will learn about different ways they can support disabled children within Hong Kong. This includes how they can endorse and create inclusive environments. Work involves administrative tasks and teens will learn about website and inventory management, fundraising activities, etc. They will also get the opportunity for hands-on interactions with those in need. The SRDC also offers a University internship for older teens and young adults.
Mother’s Choice is a local Hong Kong charity that supports the city’s vulnerable youth, such as children without parents and teen mothers who have no means of support. Mother’s Choice created a student volunteer and internship programme to connect teens and bring the support of a community to help those in need. While applications for this summer’s internships are now closed, there are still volunteer opportunities available and while knowing Chinese is an asset, it is not a requirement. The internship gives students a chance to build on a variety of skills as they perform administrative work and assist with projects that make a real difference in the lives of Hong Kong youth.
Asia Arts Archive (AAA)
Have an art-savvy student who is currently enrolled in university? AAA offers full and part-time internships for both local and non-local undergraduate and graduate students throughout the year. Its internships offer the opportunity for students to see how a non-profit organisation is run, as well as engaging with art, artists, and professionals within the industry.
SoapCycling was created by David Bishop in 2011 when he saw that many Hong Kong students did not have any job experience after finishing their schooling. Bishop wanted to create meaningful experiences for students and offer them better opportunities. SoapCycling works with hotels, corporations, and charities across Asia in which leftover hotel soaps are recycled and delivered to NGOs and places and people in need. Interns at SoapCycle are involved in nearly every aspect giving real and valuable experience while also contributing to helping those in need and endorsing sustainability.
If your teen has a passion for arts and culture and is looking to break into the industry, West Kowloon has the perfect internship opportunity for them this summer (unfortunately, applications have closed for this year). What’s more, is that all of West Kowloon opportunities are paid in some manner. Its programmes are aimed at Hong Kong permanent residents who are currently enrolled in university – knowing Chinese and English is a requirement. West Kowloon has a docent programme in which candidates receive professional training and connect with artists and curators to get a real feel for the industry.
The paid internship programmes focus on different areas in the arts, such as the Performing Arts Internship or the Marketing and Customer Experience one. It also offers students the opportunity to shadow different members of the West Kowloon team. This is definitely something to consider if your teen wants experience working in the arts.
The pandemic has seen a massive shift in the work world as many jobs and opportunities have moved online, even opportunities for teens. Check out some of these resources for more information on intern jobs that teens can do online.
- EnergyMag Internship
- PHC Group, LLC Mary Miller Summer Program
- Upkey Leadership & Career Readiness Internship
- Smithsonian Internships
- United Planet Virtual Internship
- Spikeview Social Media and Product Strategy Internship
Resources For Job-Hunting Teens
The summer jobs above can give your teen a good starting point when looking for vacation work, but there are plenty of other opportunities as well. Here are a couple of resources to help your child out:
Youth Employment Start (Y.E.S.)
Y.E.S. provides one-stop, personalised advisory and support services on employment and self-employment for people ages 15 to 29 years. Services include: career planning, pre-employment training (for people who feel they need more skills) and help with job hunting. It also provides in-depth information for job seekers about their rights and things to look out for when applying for jobs. It has two membership types: regular (for normal job seekers) and business (for young people who have registered their own business and are looking for extra resources). Membership is free, and it’s a great all-around resource for someone who’s not sure where to start.
Y.E.S., Suites 8-11, Level 42, Office Tower, Langham Place, 8 Argyle Street, Mong Kok, Hong Kong, 2111 8533
Hong Kong Teen PT Facebook Group
If time is an issue (your child can’t commit to the whole summer) or your kid wants to find some odd jobs during the school year, as mentioned earlier, this Facebook page may help them out. This group works both ways: teens who are seeking jobs can post, listing what skills they have and what kinds of jobs they want to do; and people looking for help can post in search of part-time workers. People have listed a wide variety of jobs (and summer jobs) from babysitting and tutoring, to specialised skills such as web design and event coordination. If you spend some time browsing, you’re bound to find something that interests your teen. Parents are encouraged to join as well so they can monitor who contacts their kids.
Hong Kong Teen PT Facebook Group, join online
This is a free student-led platform connecting young individuals to job and internship opportunities. Students can view job postings and also post about their skills. Parents who are looking for students to work with them or their children can also put up their job requirements.
Useful Job-Hunting Sites
There are also a few online job-hunting sites where kids can search for English-speaking summer jobs. Many of them allow you to input your email and get custom emails sent to you when job openings are listed. Here are a few that have many types of postings, including tutoring and internships:
Opportunities & Resources For Teens With Special Needs
If you’re looking for an inclusive experience for your teen with special needs, check out these great places that can help your teen look into their strengths and aspirations. These organisations will work with them to come up with a career plan and get them in contact with inclusive companies to get their foot in the door.
Love Express is a non-profit organisation aimed at helping people with autism and families with autistic children. It offers career planning and job opportunities for autistic individuals by highlighting their strengths and connecting them with inclusive businesses.
The Rock Foundation
The Rock Foundation helps people with special needs develop their growth and talent by offering employment programmes as well as internship opportunities from inclusive companies. It has a Post-School Integrated Education programme that works with the different phases of growth and development of post-school individuals with special needs.
Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in April 2018 by Megan Weill, updated in July 2019 by Alex Purcell Garcia, with a further update by Danielle Tucker-Roberts in June 2021.