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Bringing them back

Published on Saturday, 26 Jul 2014
Students from UK universities connect with HK hirers.
Photo: Gary Mak
Rizwan Masood
Ivan Au
Rocco Li
Justin Chan

Job fair targets Hong Kong students studying in UK, writes Wong Yat-hei.

The UK Joint University Hong Kong Informative Career Fair 2014 was the first local job fair to target Hong Kong students who are pursuing their education in Britain. 

Justin Chan, founding president of UK Joint University HK Career Society Overseas Student Networking (UK), which organised the July 19 fair, says he wants to help students in Britain who plan to work in Hong Kong after they graduate.

“Every year, more than 1,000 graduates from Britain return to work in Hong Kong,” he says. “A job fair can certainly help them. The problem is they are in different schools and there are too few students in one school to get companies to participate in a job fair. 

“So I got together 15 top universities in Britain and set up the fair. I believe the talent at these reputable institutions is attractive to employers.” 

Almost 700 students attended the fair at the InnoCentre in Kowloon Tong, while the 19 participating companies came from major industries in Hong Kong, such as finance, construction, telecommunications, aviation, accounting and government. 

“A few of the firms planned to host job interviews at the fair, but I see it as an information day for students,” says Chan, who is studying actuarial science at the University of Warwick. “Many young people like to go after big-name companies because of their good reputations and the benefit of having a structured career path, but I think it is really important for them to find out if they fit in with the culture of the company. The fair is a great opportunity for students to rethink what they want to do with their career through talking to people who are working in those companies.”
Companies hosted workshops and career talks, where students were able to meet senior executives of different firms to find out more about their organisations. 

“I think students are able to gain valuable information on career planning from the fair. This is the first time that the fair was held, I hope it can be an annual event,” says Chan. 
PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) was on the lookout for students with different backgrounds. “It is an interesting fair because it connects employers to students who are coming back from Britain. Having diverse skill sets and backgrounds is what we look for in our team members,” says Ivan Au, an assurance partner at PwC. “This job fair fits in perfectly with our recruitment plans, [while helping students] build their networks.” 

Meanwhile, Bloomberg, which hosted job interviews on the day, was looked to fill openings in its news, global data and analytics teams. “The fair is a perfect chance for the students to get to know us and for us to know them,” says Rocco Li, a Greater China entry-level recruiter at Bloomberg. 

“We aim to recruit people who are passionate about finance, good communicators and efficient, because we work at a very fast pace in finance. The structure of the company is flat, nobody sits in a room, and everyone is easily accessible, because we value collaboration more than anything.” 

 Li hopes to expand the company’s talent pool through the fair. “Many students from Britain are not aware that many finance companies and banks started taking applications for internships in February and start recruiting full-timers in around September. I looked to inform students from Britain about this so we can incorporate them into our talent pool.” 

Standard Chartered Bank (Hong Kong) was also keen to lure talent back from Britain. “As an employer, we fully support bringing back talent from abroad to contribute to the local financial industry, which is a major pillar of the economy of Hong Kong,” says Rizwan Masood, the bank’s head of HR and retail for private and commercial clients. “The fair produces a win-win situation. We get to take a look at the potential of future employees, and students are able to get a better idea of the job opportunities available in banks.” 

The fair was supported by the Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce, the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office in London, and The Hong Kong Society. It was sponsored by Prudential Hong Kong, Prudential General Insurance Hong Kong, PwC and Standard Chartered. Classified Post was the official media partner.

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