Hiring in Hong Kong

Hong Kong has a thriving job market, with many local and international companies operating in the city. The recruitment process in Hong Kong is similar to that in other countries, and typically involves a number of steps. These include posting job advertisements, reviewing resumes and applications, conducting interviews, and conducting background and reference checks.

The easiest way to find candidates for junior positions is either through a job advertisement posted on LinkedIn or local platforms like JobsDB, or by using one of the many professional staffing agencies that are active on the Hong Kong market. For specialized roles and more senior positions either LinkedIn or a recruitment firm is likely to garner the most response. There are hundreds of recruitment firms of various size in Hong Kong, specializing in different sectors and seniority of candidates. Just as elsewhere in the world it’s important to find and choose one that suits your needs. For entry-level to mid-level management you can expect the firms to operate on a pay-on-success model, wherein you will only pay the search firm once they have found the right candidate, typically 20-25% of the annual salary. More senior or specialized hiring often require a higher fee percentage (25-30%) as well as a retainer, a pre-payment for the search to start.

The talent landscape

Depending on your company needs you will have an easier or more difficult time to find the right people in Hong Kong. Several sectors such as financial and professional services, sourcing and trading, and the consumer sector, provides world-class talent, while in other sectors it is more difficult to find qualified talent – e.g. technology (with some exceptions such as fin-tech, of which there is plenty of talent in Hong Kong), engineering, and manufacturing. Many companies in these sectors therefore choose to set up an office in Hong Kong for professional staff, with a further setup across the border in the Pearl River Delta for manufacturing. Due to Hong Kong’s status as an Asia-Pacific hub there is a lot of talent with experience from the whole region and mainland China, not just from working in Hong Kong. A far higher portion of the professional population that speaks English than in many other places in Asia .

Salaries in Hong Kong vary widely depending on the sector and seniority of the candidate, education level, language capabilities etc. For unqualified and entry-level staff salaries are low compared to Sweden, while for mid-to-senior level staff salaries can often be far higher, but relatively low employment costs and taxation make up for that to a degree.

The labor law

The Hong Kong Employment Ordinance covers all legal aspects to keep in mind when hiring, or releasing, employees and is available in English. It is fairly straight-forward and the rules are less stringent than in EU countries, meaning it is in general an easier process to handle. There are many companies that offer help with the administrative side of hiring, payroll and pensions, employee insurances etc., making it easier for companies to setting up business in Hong Kong without having a dedicated HR professional from the start.