Classified Post Career Forum highlights: Exhibitors relished the chance to give advice to those starting out in their careers
A total of 36 companies converged at the Career Forum to offer insight into their recruitment opportunities, trainee programmes and how they could shape the career paths of the hundreds of eager young minds attending the event. Five of these companies talk about their experiences here.
Representatives from the PCCW Group, a conglomerate with stakes in IT, telecommunications, media and other businesses, were very pleased to have met a diverse range of potential recruits for its 12-month graduate trainee programme at the forum.
“We have met Hong Kong, mainland and exchange students from different disciplines,” said Vivien Hui, training and development manager, commercial group at HKT, a member of the PCCW Group. “Most are undergraduates, but we have also met some master’s degree students and some fresh workers with less than two years of experience.”
Hui explained that she was looking for young people who are proactive, dynamic, eager to learn, ambitious and show enthusiasm for working at PCCW.
“We are very happy to have met some good candidates. Most of the young people here at the forum are career-ready. They are dressed in their best suits, armed with their CVs and ready to impress companies.”
Mirroring the extensive scope of its business, trainees at the company – which currently employs 23,000 staff representing 50 nationalities – will be assigned to different business functions such as engineering, IT, sales and marketing, media, finance, and human resources.
Hui said the physical presence of both potential applicants and the company at the forum made a big difference for the company’s image and recruitment process. It gave a human face to the company as representatives from different business functions shared their experiences with interested students face-to-face.
Students, meanwhile, got a much better understanding of PCCW’s various business functions, enabling them to choose the most suitable field when applying for the graduate trainee programme.
Encouraged by the positive response at the forum, Hui said PCCW would also consider introducing an internship programme to second-year students to further build up its talent pool.
“Competition for talent is really keen in the market,” she said. “We are always looking for other talent pipelines, and the right platform to bring the right people to us.”
Hang Lung Properties
There are many reasons why Hang Lung Properties has chosen to participate in the Career Forum over the years, but the main driving force is the event’s passion for helping young people, said Bella Chhoa, company secretary, general counsel and assistant director of corporate affairs.
“We have all been there before – young and confused at the crossroads of our careers,” Chhoa said. “We want to make a difference for young people and tell them what we have been through, and what kind of platform Hang Lung Properties can offer to them in shaping their career.”
That’s why the company’s senior management is always committed to events like the forum, she added. “All of us have billions of dollars’ worth of business projects at hand, but we won’t hesitate to spend half a day talking to young people and helping them.”
Hang Lung Properties offers an 18-month management trainee programme that provides on-the-job training in various business function units in Hong Kong and the mainland. Top management, as well as HR officers, stay close to trainees throughout the programme, making sure that they can fulfil their potential.
The programme offers a clear career path. After graduating, a trainee will be offered an officer position. They could be promoted to manager or senior manager in six to eight years, depending on their performance.
Chhoa also gave a seminar on the programme, where she provided the young audience with a fresh perspective of the property industry. She also talked about interview dos and don’ts – the major don’ts including being a “yes-person”, being unwilling to admit mistakes made in the past, and being overly confident.
Chhoa said she found the young people at the forum sincere, focused and engaging. “We are looking for young people who have the potential to be a good leader in the position of general management,” she said. “You don’t have to come from a business major. What matters is your personality – you have to be energetic, eager to learn, innovative, and able to inspire trust.”
Google has launched Google Ignite in Hong Kong to help young jobseekers find digital marketing jobs. Those who receive and accept a job offer are provided with a six-month pre- and on-the-job training programme.
At the forum, representatives from Google explained to students how to access more than 80 full-time jobs offered by 40 companies through this initiative, including Asia Miles, AXA, Hang Seng Bank, Lan Kwai Fong Group, Mannings, New World Development Company, and Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts.
“This is the first time we’ve launched Google Ignite in Hong Kong,” said Nancy Ting, head of SMB marketing at Google Hong Kong. “We’re really encouraged by the growing interest from companies and youngsters in Hong Kong to drive, and be a part of, this change.
“The students we’ve met so far have been really enthusiastic because not only do they get the opportunity to land a job in digital marketing, they also receive six-months of digital marketing training by Google to jump-start their career.”
Applicants to Google Ignite will obtain the Google AdWords certification through the registration process, an internationally recognised certification in digital marketing. They will then be reviewed based on school performance, work experience and essays.
“Technology is changing so quickly, and one of the biggest challenges that businesses face today is finding enough of the right, skilled talent to keep up with the pace,” Ting said. “Our ambition for Google Ignite is to offer a comprehensive training programme that empowers Hong Kong youngsters to master digital marketing know-how and skill sets, and help grow the industry by creating more digital talent for businesses to choose from.”
As a first-timer at the Career Forum, Yip’s Chemical was encouraged by the warm response from university graduates, young professionals and junior students alike.
The company is offering a 24-month management trainee programme targeting both fresh graduates and young professionals with a few years of experience. Like other exhibitors, the company was accepting CV submissions on the spot, even though application for the programme is done online.
“Our management trainee programme has more than 10 years of history in Hong Kong,” said Prudy Chan, assistant talent development manager at Yip’s Chemical. “We are quite well known by university graduates and young professionals as there are very few companies like us in Hong Kong.”
Chan added that she had a lot of younger students in their second year approach her throughout the day. “Although they are not suitable for the management trainee program, arrangements can be made for potential internships if we find them suitable for the company. It is great because it opens up another opportunity for us to recruit young talents.”
Personality matters most when it comes to screening candidates, Chan said. They must have a cheerful, optimistic and energetic personality, and show that they have clear career aspirations.
She explained that the forum gave them a chance to meet candidates face-to-face before they submitted their résumés. This helped candidates understand the chemical manufacturing industry, the work of Yip’s Chemical and its company culture. Meanwhile, the company could decide whether candidates were a good fit before taking their applications any further.
“Recruitment is about matching people with people instead of matching résumés with a job description,” Chan said. “A candidate with proven basic competence can always pick up new skills from work, but you cannot change his or her personality overnight.”
Line managers, HR representatives and current graduate trainees at Towngas were eager to share what it is like to be part of the company’s two-year graduate trainee programme.
Vincent Tsang, one of the graduate trainees manning the company’s booth, said young people with a clear understanding of Towngas’ vision and a positive attitude towards spending time in the mainland were ideal candidates for the programme.
From his perspective as a trainee, Tsang said the programme was an eye-opener and broadened his perspective of Hong Kong’s role in the energy industry in Greater China and Asia.
“Towngas has a lot of projects that involve working closely with counterparts in the mainland. There is so much potential in the industry,” he said.
The company’s booth attracted a flurry of second-, third- and fourth-year students from local, mainland and overseas universities, looking to understand what each of the programme’s various career paths offered. They came from disciplines including engineering, law, and business.
Tsang and his colleagues found the students very eager, pro-active, articulate and smart. He said they were also very career-minded and were prepared to prove that they could be a good fit for Towngas.
While candidates interested in the programme must apply online, Tsang said the forum gives participants a chance to understand the programme better from both the employer’s and the trainee’s perspectives. “It is always good to listen to both sides of the story before you make a commitment,” he said.