Finding a Job in Hong Kong – Index
Hong Kong is a cultural melting pot that attracts thousands of foreigners yearly who wish to work in this financial hub. You see, Hong Kong has a lot to offer, not only in terms of business opportunities but also when it comes down to the quality of life.
In this article, you’ll learn how you can find a job in Hong Kong and what tactics you should have. We will explain the job market, the requirements to work there, the salary levels, and more. Finally, you’ll also learn how much you need in tax, which is important to many.
First, let’s start and review how you can find a job in Hong Kong most easily.
How can I find a job in Hong Kong?
Finding a job in Hong Kong is fairly easy. It’s a free market and you have great chances of finding a job if you possess the necessary skills and education. That’s not truly the case to one of Hong Kong’s main competitors, Singapore, where the government tries to protect the local workforce by implementing quotas to foreign workers.
The most common ways of finding jobs are similar between the two though. In Hong Kong, people generally find jobs in the following ways:
- Through referrals/recommendations
- Job boards
- Inhouse recruiters
- Recruitment agencies
Let me explain briefly about each option.
Finding a job through referrals and recommendations
Hong Kong is still comparatively competitive and one of the easiest ways of finding a job is to spend some time there, building up a network. You can do this by visiting the city as a tourist or by pursuing studies, for example.
If you live in Asia, you can conveniently visit Hong Kong once a month or so to get your feet wet and explore the job market on-site. Of course, it can be easier said than done to find a job via referrals and recommendations. Therefore, we also recommend that you do other things in parallel to improve your chances of finding a job.
Finding a job via job boards
Another great option, that you can start doing directly, is to sign up at the biggest job portals in Hong Kong and apply for jobs immediately. One of the best websites of doing this is undoubtedly LinkedIn as you have the opportunity to connect with hiring managers and recruiters.
After you’ve applied for a job, simply contact the recruiter or hiring manager and explain briefly about yourself and experiences.
Of course, there are other job portals that useful in Hong Kong, including:
Finding a job with the help of inhouse recruiters
I recommend you use LinkedIn to get in touch with inhouse recruiters at companies you’re interested in working for. Simply go to the search field in LinkedIn and write “Company Name”, then choose that you want to look for jobs.
You’ll now see a list of persons working for that company, oftentimes, recruiters. Add one or two of the persons and also write a note where you briefly explain about yourself. If you have the premium version of LinkedIn, you can also send a handful of InMails each month, without the need of adding the persons as contacts.
Finding a job via recruitment agencies
Another great tip is to contact recruitment agencies as they receive commissions when they manage to find candidates that get employed by companies. Thus, recruitment agencies can be a bit more aggressive in the sense that they truly want to help you find a job.
This is not always the case with inhouse recruiters at companies as they get a fixed salary each month. Some companies you should have a look at include Robert Walters, Michael Page, Hays, and Randstad.
Keep in mind that companies’ HR departments not rarely outsource the work of finding candidates to recruitment agencies.
How is the job market in Hong Kong?
Compared to Singapore and mainland China, Hong Kong has a slimmer market that is primarily focused on the banking, legal, and real estate industry. You won’t find as many engineering jobs here, although it’s not impossible.
Thanks to Hong Kong’s proximity to tech-hubs like Shenzhen and mainland China, there are still plenty of open positions for:
- Sales Engineers
- DevOps Roles
- Data-related Professionals
- Cyber security professionals
- Cloud Specialists
- eCommerce specialists
Requirements for foreigners to work in Hong Kong
As mentioned, finding and landing a job in Hong Kong is quite easy and you don’t have to deal with foreign quotas, like in Singapore. Also, work visas are free of charge!
That said, foreigners that apply for jobs must have (quoting the Hong Kong government) good educational qualifications and possess special skills, knowledge or experience of value to and not readily available in Hong Kong.
Some of the items you need to prepare, before you can get a Hong Kong work visa, include:
- Valid passport with at least 6 months validity
- Employment visa application form
- Job offer letter
- Recent passport-sized photographs (2 to 3)
- Travel Insurance
- Health Insurance
Keep in mind that you have to get a job offer from a company in Hong Kong before you can apply for the visa. Besides, you don’t need any visa or entry permit if you have any of the following travel documents:
- Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Passport
- British National (Overseas) Passport
- Hong Kong Certificate of Identity
- Hong Kong Re-entry permit (for entry from the Mainland of China and the Macao Special Administrative Region only)
- Hong Kong Seaman’s Identity Book
- Hong Kong Document of Identity for Visa Purposes provided that the document is valid or the holder’s limit of stay in Hong Kong has not expired
How high are salaries in Hong Kong?
Hong Kong has competitive salaries and primarily benefits from its significantly low-income taxes. The average salary is around HKD 19,100 (USD 2,430) for male workers and HKD 14,700 (USD 1,875) but can increase much if you have the right skills and experience.
If you look for high-paying jobs, you should have a look at the following professions:
- IT & Telecommunication – CIO / CTO: HKD 2.8 million – HKD 3.5 million
- Banking & Finance – Executive Director: HKD 2.8 million+
- Finance & Accounting – CFO: HKD 1 million – HKD 2.5 million
- Pharmaceutical – R&D Director: HKD 1 million – HKD 2 million
- Insurance – Regional Head (underwriter): HKD 1.3 million – HKD 1.8 million
As you can see, the salaries vary much depending on your skills and experiences. If you want to live a comfortable life in Hong Kong, I recommend you to look for jobs where you earn at least USD 4,000 (HKD 31,400) per month.
How high are the income taxes?
Hong Kong has some of the lowest income taxes in the world, a reason why many business professionals move there to pursue a career or start a company. The tax rate increases progressively and are currently as follows:
- On the first HKD 50,000: 2% (HKD 1,000)
- On the next HKD 50,000: 6% (HKD 3,000)
- On the next HKD 50,000: 10% (HKD 5,000)
- On the next HKD 50,000: 14% (HKD 7,000)
- Remainder: 17%
As such, you don’t have to pay more than HKD 4,000 in tax if you earn HKD 100,000. If you earn HKD 200,000 a year, you only have to pay HKD 16,000 in tax, which is kind of crazy.
For up-to-date information, I recommend you to visit the Hong Kong government’s website where you can find the tax rates of salaries tax & personal assessment.
What should my CV look like?
CVs are written in a similar way to that of the UK, short and concise and without having a photo of the applicant. The Hong Kong resumes usually include the following information in chronological order:
- Contact information
- Personal summary
- Work experience
I recommend you to check websites that provide resume templates for the Hong Kong market. You can also go to Google Images and find examples.
If you want to walk the extra mile, consider hiring an agency to write your resume on your behalf. They often have native speakers who are experienced in writing and checking CVs, this can increase your chances of landing a job significantly.