Sharmini Wainwright is managing director of Michael Page & Page Personnel Hong Kong. With over 13 years’ experience with PageGroup, she oversees specialist recruitment across finance, financial services, sales & marketing, legal and more.
Scheduling interviews before flying to HK
I'm an Italian Art Director based in Ho Chi Minh City looking to relocate to Hong Kong.
I have been working in Vietnam for two years and I had previous experiences in Italy, Kuala Lumpur and Toronto.
I would like to schedule some interviews with Advertising Agencies and then fly Hong Kong for a few days to have the meetings in person.
I can hardly have any feedback, is it because it would be better to be already located in HK, or jobs in Advertising are not too open to foreigners?
Sharmini Wainwright - Career Doctor
Posted Monday 15th April 2013 08:42:00 PM
Dear Marc, This is a great question, and one that arises fairly often. Hong Kong is a city (like New York, London, etc) whereby we typically receive over 100 applications a week from individuals based abroad who want to relocate their professional career to Hong Kong. Unfortunately, current market dynamics make this more difficult than it sounds. Firstly, sponsorship is necessary, and with this a justification is required on why a local could not perform the role instead. The Hong Kong Government has continued to tighten their assessment criteria in granting working visas. Secondly, the need for Cantonese and Mandarin language skills is increasing and hence local candidates are the preferred option. In particular, the Mandarin skill set is increasing on job briefs received from Hong Kong employers due to the requirement to liaise closely with relevant stakeholders (clients or internal) within China. In addition, during 2011 and 2012 a number of organisations reduced their headcount in Hong Kong through downsizing, hence there is a larger pool of talented professionals available and who can start immediately. Thirdly, your specialty needs to fit with what is in demand in the Hong Kong market (for example a track record in servicing luxury fashion clients). The exception to this is when someone has a skill set that is extremely niche and in short supply in Hong Kong and in that case, doors do open. I know it is a frustrating process and can seem like you are investing a lot of time with minimal outcomes or success. I would recommend that you utilise a number of different channels to broaden the opportunities. Firstly, engage with agencies in Hong Kong who specialise in recruitment within your industry and job classification. Also ensure that you have updated your social media profile with key words included so that you 'can be found' if someone is doing a regional search on social media for talent. You could also reach out via phone to contacts you have in the industry within Asia who may be able to make introductions for you. The phone is a powerful tool and is neglected today as email is typically the easier and more passive option. Finally, review the career websites of the large media organisations you would like to work for and proactively see what opportunities they have open. Best of luck with your job search and please don't hesitate to leave a comment or further query below. Kind regards, Sharmini