Chris Aukland is the managing director of specialist recruitment agency Ambition and is responsible for the growth and management of the Hong Kong business. He has 15 years’ consulting experience in the UK and Asia.
Can I find a job that lets me work from home?
I work as a marketing manager and I am currently looking to move to a new company because my current employer is relocating.
For family reasons, I am hoping to get a position where I can work from home at least three days per week. Is this a realistic expectation or will it hamper my chances of securing a new job?
The simple answer to this question is yes, it’s possible to find a marketing role with an organisation that offers flexible working practices that would allow you to work from home two to three days a week. However, this will depend on a number of factors, including your seniority, career history and experience, the industry sector you are working in as well as the type of organisation and industry sector you wish to work in next. It will also depend on how patient you are in terms of finding a new role as it may take a little longer.
Firstly, I think you will need to accept that if you do set this criteria as a “must-have” for your next role then you will be automatically ruling yourself out of a significant proportion of opportunities because many employers simply do not offer flexible working or work-from-home arrangements.
The good news though is that there is an increasing number of employers in Hong Kong embracing flexible work and therefore offering opportunities where it is possible to work from home.
The retention of existing staff is a top priority among employers in the last few years so we have seen many organisations placing a greater emphasis on initiatives intended to create a more flexible workplace. Driven by an increasing focus on work-life balance among professionals in Hong Kong, such initiatives have been shown to increase employee engagement and increase retention.
There are a number of global multinationals that offer a completely flexible-work approach, including a remote-working policy in all roles (or the vast majority). There are also a number of smaller organisations, which, due to limited office space or having no physical office presence in Hong Kong, offer work-from-home arrangements. In terms of industry sectors, the technology and real estate sectors seem to embrace flexible working. However, many organisations would typically still expect you to be in the office the majority of the time, even if they do have a work-from-home policy.
There are other options outside of working for a “corporate”, such as consulting, project work, freelancing, working for a start-up. All of these would mean a home office. However, if you do wish to work in a “corporate” organisation, you may just need to do more research than most jobseekers and be very targeted about who you apply to.