Career Advice Industrial Changes from Generation Y & Millennials

On the express lift to the top

University of Hong Kong economics graduate Symon Lam was among six management trainees selected from more than 1,000 applicants who joined the management trainee (MT) programme at Hang Lung Properties in 2010.

The 18-month MT programme, which saw Lam work in a number of different departments, included a six-month, on-the-job training segment in the mainland.

After completing the programme in April this year, Lam chose to work in the company’s internal audit department and is now an internal audit officer.

“The job allows me to work at different shopping malls across the mainland, which is one of the reasons why I chose this role,” Lam says. “Since May, I have been travelling at least once a month.”

Hang Lung Properties’ MT programme is designed to turntalented graduates into future leaders of the group. Senior executives pay special attention to the ideas of MTs, who are given regular opportunities to present business research projects to top management.

Bella Chhoa, assistant director of corporate affairs at Hang Lung Properties, says that the company looks for the “3Cs” – creativity, character and co-operation – when hiring MTs.

“We don’t necessarily pick straight-A students, as we are more in need of young and creative hearts,” she says.

Jones Lang LaSalle also runs a graduate trainee programme at its Hong Kong office. The programme is a good entry point for those interested in developing a career in property management, valuation advisory or retail.

“Trainees will be placed in their preferred department and undergo on-the-job training under the supervision of a mentor,” says Stephen Chan, senior manager of property management.

Three trainees joined the property management department in 2012, says Carrie Lam, national director of property management.

She adds that Hong Kong’s low unemployment rate is presenting Jones Lang LaSalle with a number of hiring challenges. “As a result, we are becoming more aggressive in our staff-retention strategy,” she says.

The company recently introduced “caring leave”, which lets staff take days off on occasions such as birthdays, their kids’ graduation or parent-teacher days.