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Should I go after a 'crossover' qualification?

Published on Thursday, 16 Aug 2012
Louisa Yeung

I'm a chartered civil engineer working in the construction industry where there are a lot of opportunities available at present. I would like to develop my career further. Apart from an MBA, what other professional qualification would you recommend I consider? Should I look into law, accounting or insurance? Does the job market look for "crossover" employees with dual professional qualifications? Siu lam

I suggest you continue to focus on your current profession - civil engineering - and broaden your scope to the management or business level to secure a senior-level role. You can work towards this by enrolling at a reputable business school to obtain your MBA. This will help develop your skills and take your career to the high-level, general-management areas of a business.

In addition to technical knowledge you should also have language skills in Putonghua and a general knowledge of the construction industry in Hong Kong. These will complement your expertise in civil engineering as you will be able to speak to clients based in Hong Kong and the Greater China region, with the confidence of knowing market trends and industry conditions.

These qualities combined boost your employability and attractiveness to potential employers looking to fill positions in general management or head of business. Currently, many construction companies and property developers are expanding beyond mainland tier-one cities into areas where these positions are in demand.

Acquiring another professional qualification and practising it in conjunction with civil engineering is uncommon in Hong Kong. Employers are a little strict when it comes to industry knowledge and experience, preferring candidates with solid work experience in the sector.

Professionals do not usually have more than one area of specialisation. If they do, they will only practice one. It is your decision whether you think it worthwhile to complete studies and gain experience in another sector.

Louisa Yeung is managing director of Michael Page International in Hong Kong & Southern China. She leads multiple specialist recruitment teams in finance, HR, property and construction, and executive search

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