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Contract Recruitment in Hong Kong – A world away from Australia!

Moving jobs can be scary, let alone moving countries.

Sommer Owens, Associate Director in our Hong Kong office moved over from Australia and has now set up our contracting division. From recruiting into one market that's used to permanent and contracting staff to a market where contracting is fairly alien has made setting up this division quite interesting. So, how do                                    you contract in Hong Kong? Sommer tells all...

Having commenced my contract recruitment career in Australia – where a substantial proportion of skilled professionals are happy to work on a contract basis – it came as a great shock to me that in Hong Kong there was a genuine stigma attached to contracting.  Many Hong Kong people view contract roles as inferior to permanent positions.  As such, when I first arrived in Asia it was very difficult for me to service my clients’ demands for top-tier candidates to accept contract-based roles.

In addition to the resistance from candidates, legislation in Hong Kong creates a further complication.  That is to say, in Hong Kong there is no concept of an independent contractor so the recruitment agency must act as the employer.  All workers are protected by the same legislation as permanent staff – so as a recruiter I had to quickly learn about a number of employee relations issues that would have been totally irrelevant back home!

Despite these challenges, I have very much enjoyed the move to working in Asia as a contract recruiter.  There is such high demand from clients for contract resources, and with so many recruitment agents unsure as to how they should manage the contract recruitment process, the competition is not as fierce as within Australia.  As such, there is a great opportunity for experienced contract recruiters to take the lead in a growing field.

It has been a very satisfying journey, watching the contract recruitment market of Hong Kong evolve and knowing that I was able to participate in such an important change in the employment market of one of Asia’s leading cities.  But the work’s not done yet – so please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any questions about working as a contract recruiter in Hong Kong! 

  • Jan 28, 2014
  • Careers , Culture
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Morgan McKinley

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