Career Advice Job Market Trend Report

Expats love low tax, easy life in hk

Look around many Hong Kong workplaces and it is not unusual to see a fair few foreigners working alongside locals. Hong Kong is an immensely popular place for professionals from different countries to come and work.

The Global Professionals on the Move 2012 Report, a survey of professionals’ attitudes to working abroad published by recruitment firm Hydrogen, found that Hong Kong is the sixth most desirable place in the world for people to relocate to.

Only the US, Australia, the UK, Singapore and Canada were considered more sought-after.

The survey was conducted late in 2011by ESCP Europe, with 2,353 people worldwide being interviewed.

One reason Hong Kong may be attractive to foreigners, according to Simon Walker, managing director of Hydrogen Asia, is because its links with the mainland and the region’s thriving markets mean that there are extensive opportunities in the city.

“The Asian economy is still strong and with many companies investing significantly in growth in this region, a range of opportunities is being created for talented individuals.”

Walker says Hong Kong is also very attractive because of the possibilities it offers diligent workers to earn more and have a better lifestyle. In general, the Hydrogen survey found that greater earning potential was one of the top three reasons why people choose to relocate. This is something Hong Kong can provide many people.

“Salaries in Hong Kong are comparable to other major financial and business centres,” says Walker. “And lower taxes give most people a 20 to 30 per cent uplift in take-home pay. In addition, Hong Kong offers a high standard of living, making it an attractive place to relocate to.”

However, Walker adds that one thing that might make Hong Kong less attractive to foreigners is cultural differences. “The working culture here can feel very different from Europe, with a more formal approach to business,” he explains.

However, he notes that, of the foreigners living in Hong Kong surveyed by Hydrogen, 77 per cent said that they found the culture easy to adapt to. Overall, those expats in Hong Kong who were surveyed offered an overwhelmingly positive view of their relocation to the city, with 100 per cent of those questioned saying they would recommend to others relocating to Hong Kong.

“This shows that whatever the initial difficulties were in settling in, they soon overcame them to benefit from the experience,” Walker says.