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A foot on the real estate ladder

Graduates looking to enter the fast-paced real estate industry would get off to a good start on Hang Lung’s management trainee programme. This is an 18-month initiative that provides on-the-job training in various business functions within the company’s Hong Kong and mainland China portfolios. The programme includes six months’ training at Hang Lung’s mainland China portfolios to provide trainees with first-hand experience of Chinese property market trends, says Janet Poon, general manager, human resources.

The 18-month programme provides management trainees with opportunities to gain all-round exposure and on-the-job training in various business functions within the company in Hong Kong and the mainland, says Poon. There is a customised training curriculum to sharpen trainees’ management skills and business acumen, Poon adds.

“Throughout the programme, Hang Lung’s top management, senior executives from different departments, and human resources executives will all offer guidance and coaching to trainees. This facilitates learning, and brings their potential into full play,” she adds.

Personal advancement courses are another part of the diverse training curriculum Hang Lung has designed to develop the skills which are needed for trainees to progress towards management roles.

Among the subjects covered are business etiquette and professional image building, outward bound, effective presentation skills, business English writing, business Chinese writing, Putonghua workshop, management skills, professional development, compliance training, property management, and training sponsorship.

Hang Lung welcomes top-notch university graduates to join its programme from all subject backgrounds. Candidates must be passionate about long-term career development in the property industry. “They must be eager to gain solid work experience in our group’s property development and management in both Hong Kong and the mainland, and enjoy job rotation to different business functions within our group,” says Poon.

Once the programme is completed, the typical career path is one to two years as an officer, a further two years as a senior officer, and then a similar amount of time as an assistant manager. Manager is the next rung on the ladder, a position likely held for a couple of years before graduating to head of section for four to six years. The next rung on the ladder is general manager, a post most tend to stay in for between six to eight years before graduating to director level.

Candidates must demonstrate a good understanding of the profile of Hang Lung in Hong Kong and the mainland, Poon stresses. “They should also be proactive, humble, punctual, honest and true to themselves.”



Ensuring success

Those keen to enter the world of insurance will have a chance to meet representatives of the Insurance Authority, an insurance regulator independent of the government, to discuss its management trainee opportunities at the upcoming career forum. University graduates holding a degree in relevant disciplines such as finance, economics, accounting, actuarial science, and insurance or business administration, can make a good career for themselves at the organisation, and there are many employment opportunities available to them, says senior human resources manager Patricia So.

The Insurance Authority’s management trainee scheme provides orientation to new employees, familiarises them with the work environment, and helps them seamlessly integrate into the organisation. It also offers structural training programmes. These include on-the-job learning, which offers hands-on experience performing the regulatory or non-regulatory duties and assignments of the Insurance Authority.

“Professional training is also given,” says So. “Trainees are required to undergo induction training in the Insurance Authority’s regulatory services and insurance industry, learn about subject matter relating to the insurance and financial sectors, and acquire job-related knowledge and skills.”

Trainees will also receive competency-based training on the management trainee scheme, which covers a wide spectrum of management development and soft skills programmes. These include personal effectiveness, communication skills, presentation skills, creative thinking, problem solving, and decision making, as well as teamwork and project management. Trainees will be assigned a mentor, who will share knowledge and expertise with them, and provide the necessary guidance and support as they work their way through the programme.

In year three of the scheme, trainees will be required to complete an Action Learning Project that they will present to senior management. “Under the guidance of their mentors, they can work as individuals, or in a small group, on an operational job-related project, or a project that supports the development of the Insurance Authority,” she says.

The basic requirements to join the scheme are good academic results, with a predicted upper second-class honours or above, and a genuine passion to pursue a career in public service or the insurance sector. So adds that they don’t expect the applicants to have much work experience apart from that gained in previous internships. “A passion for a career in the regulatory or insurance sector, strong communication skills, and the ability to work in a team are equally important,” she says. The Insurance Authority is also looking for a self-motivated team player with leadership potential, plus strong analytical and communication skills, she adds.

After the successful completion of training, trainees who have performed well may be appointed on permanent terms as assistant managers. Further advancement to manager and senior manager positions depends on factors like the candidates’ performance and growth, their skillsets, and their personal motivation, along with the availability of job openings, says So.

So stresses that the Insurance Authority attaches much importance to staff training and development. “Our strategy is to build a modernised and dynamic insurance regulator driven by a professional, competent and effective workforce. All staff are encouraged to continue to enhance their academic qualifications through continuous self-learning and development,” she says.


Logical thinking

Leading logistics provider Dachser will be on the look-out for talented graduates to join its Asia Pacific Management Trainee programme at the next iteration of the career forum. “With this programme, we aim to develop talented graduates with strong potential to become future business leaders,” says June Chung, head of human resources and administration, Dachser Air and Sea Logistics Asia Pacific.

With a 22 per cent contribution to Hong Kong’s GDP, logistics is the city’s biggest industry. But the profession is often below the radar of young professionals, Chung admits. “While the handling of global supply chains provides numerous jobs in sales, air and sea freight, as well as HR and marketing, job profiles and opportunities are sometimes very vague and not obvious to candidates. This ultimately leads to a lack of qualified staff.”

Aiming to attract top talent to the company, Dachser’s management trainee programme starts with two years of job rotation before the trainees assume their first position in a department best suited to their ability for a further two years. “All activities aim at providing our trainees with the opportunity to develop the necessary skills and experience to establish a solid foundation for a successful career within Dachser,” Chung says.

“We prepare them to solve complex problems, manage projects, network, and meet the continuous challenges in our industry,” she says. Trainees receive executive coaching from department heads and managers and demonstrate their potential by undertaking projects and delivering presentations, adds Chung.

Digitalisation is constantly driving the logistics industry, which is why Dachser needs dedicated IT experts to support its in-house developed IT systems and business processes, Chung says. “While digitalisation offers great business opportunities, it also creates a fear that people will lose their jobs. For Dachser, however, people will always be at the centre of our activities, designing processes and successfully applying technologies to everyday life,” Chung says.

Worldwide supply chains are frequently challenged by external factors like severe weather conditions, political decisions, and trade tariffs between countries that disrupt or change the flow of goods. Understanding these trends, and giving proper advice to customers, is a key task for its sales crew, says Chung.

Prospective trainees should also possess excellent presentation and interpersonal skills, and be independent, self-motivated and confident. “We are also looking for candidates with excellent numeric sense, good analytical skills, and innovative minds,” Chung says. They should be flexible, eager to face challenges, able to work under pressure and willing to travel for extended periods, adds Chung.

Although Dachser is a global brand and multinational player, it remains a very grounded company, says Chung. “Flat hierarchies, and a very approachable management differentiate us from other big players. As a family-owned company with its origins in Germany, we feel responsible for our employees, and are committed to their long-term development,” she says.