Kelvin Chong is a manager in the transactional services division at Robert Walters in Hong Kong.
I have recently completed a certificate in web design in Canada and have returned to Hong Kong hoping to find work. Looking around, I have found the local websites to be one-dimensional, non-interactive and uninspiring. Would it be worthwhile looking for work at a local company, or should I cast my net wider to international agencies? Is there an opportunity to change the safe approach of local agencies?
With the continued growth in e-commerce and digital, there is increasingly strong demand for IT professionals, ranging from infrastructure and security to web design.
It would be unfair to make an early assumption whether you should join local companies or not based purely on looking at their websites. When I talk to potential jobseekers, I always advise them to focus on both the cultural fit and growth potential of the companies.
The major difference between local and international companies is their corporate culture. I believe it is crucial for someone who has just returned from overseas to cast the net wider and go to more interviews before you make any decisions. By going to job interviews, you can understand more about the role, company culture, and most importantly, the amount of resources they are investing into their IT and online platforms.
The company you are interviewing at might well be looking for someone with a creative mind to help upgrade their corporate image by designing a new look for their website.
As to whether there is an opportunity to change the seemingly safe approach of local agencies, it is never easy when it comes to changing things at a corporate level.
Changes take time and resources. It is unsurprising that some companies might resist change as it could induce risk, especially when it is business as usual and there is no pressing reason for them to do so.
If you have new ideas you think can help improve things, you should voice them. However, do not forget to support or justify your suggestions with valid facts and reasons. It is also important to remember that while people might or might not agree with you, it is a business conversation and do not take it personally if you get an objection.
People get passionate when sharing their ideas, but to be successful, it is important to listen to other people's ideas and look at the situation from different angles, and be realistic about expectations.
When you have to make career decisions, the most important thing is to keep an open mind and explore as many opportunities as you can. Only through this matchmaking process will you be able to find out what is more suitable for you.