Finding a Job in Hong Kong

Information about the employment services and agencies geared towards helping people find jobs in Hong Kong...

Most organisations in Hong Kong will promote staff from within, transfer in overseas staff or hire locally. Senior positions are also often filled by head-hunters or worldwide recruitment agencies,

Hiring locally is clearly the most straightforward. Hong Kong permanent residents (those who hold a Hong Kong Permanent ID Card) and the dependants of residents with a valid work visa fall into this category. Those who can speak Cantonese and/or Mandarin will have an advantage.

A company may consider hiring foreigners already working in Hong Kong. The employer can then ask for a transfer visa (employment visas are only valid for the job and term for which they were issued) so that the employee can move jobs and continue to reside legally in Hong Kong.

Transferring in overseas staff is the least preferred option although it may be the only way an employer can fill a specific position. Anyone considering applying for work in Hong Kong from abroad will need a particularly sought-after business background or some skill which cannot be found locally.

The Labour Department and Job Centres

Job seekers and employers can make use of the free services provided by the Labour Department through its Job Vacancy Processing Centre, Telephone Employment Centre and 12 Job Centres.

Anyone entitled to work in Hong Kong can use the facilities of local Job Centres which include vacancy searches, telephones, faxes and computers (including Internet access and software for writing and preparing CVs). Registration with them is simple process – just visit the nearest office.

Job fairs are held periodically and employers commonly interview prospective staff there and then. Job Centres also offer a Job Matching Programme which may involve periods of work experience.

Interactive Employment Service

An online facility is also available – the Interactive Employment Service (IES). Users can register for jobs via this service. Registering is completely free and members can be sent emails of new vacancies as they arrive.

Note: these services are not open to those who are not yet legally resident and employable in Hong Kong.

Recruitment agencies

While the services of the Labour Department are useful for those already resident and employable in Hong Kong, such as dependants of migrant workers, they will not help those who are not. Since having a job is often a prerequisite for gaining entry to Hong Kong, job seekers will have to make use of speculative applications to companies with offices in Hong Kong.

There are quite a few online international recruitment agencies and online job search websites with registration facilities which allow job hunting from outside Hong Kong.

These include:

Youth Employment

Young people without experience or higher level qualifications may find it difficult to find work. The Labour Department aims to help young people find work through its Youth Employment Start Programme (Y.E.S) Careers Advisory Service and E-Start initiative. This service provides support for those aged between 15 and 29./p>

Those aged between 15 and 24 who are legally resident and employable in Hong Kong should contact their nearest Job Centre or the Labour Department directly via the website.

Disabled Workers

Disabled Job Seekers are specifically looked after by the Selective Placement Division.

Working in Hong Kong

Most Westerners will notice a difference in their Hong Kong working environment. Although English is widely spoken, staff will usually communicate with each other in Cantonese. There are also various cultural differences to be aware of. Newcomers can find information on the Community Advice Bureau website.

The bureau produces a free, downloadable booklet Settling into Hong Kong: Click here

Further Information