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Chinese New Year: Engineering & Construction Job Merry Go Round in Hong Kong & Macau

Every first quarter in China, and in my first hand experience in the Special Administrative Regions of Hong Kong & Macau, there is an incredible turnover of staff and consequent availability of vacancies. This can largely, if not entirely, be attributed to Chinese New Year and the traditional bonus system that applies to many employees in these regions.  Employees looking to further their careers elsewhere will wait until they have received their bonuses, and who can blame them? The reward of an extra month’s salary annually, which is usually paid around Chinese New Year, would be enough to keep all but the most unhappy employees from departing for an extra couple of months. 

However, a problem is created with such a system in place. Every year, there is a significant bout of instability and uncertainty regarding the continued availability and loyalty of employees.  The Hong Kong & Macau Construction markets reported staff turnover rates to be at a staggering 10% for Quarter 2 of 2013, as a direct result of Chinese New Year (source: HKIHRM). 

The obvious advantages for candidates seeking employment are that a new role may come available that had not previously been vacant - but be wary. As recruiters, at Maxim we are always looking to help people progress their construction careers and to better themselves, but often this is not achieved by changing employer every 12 months!  One criterion in which candidates regularly fail to pass the selection process is when their longevity and loyalty to previous employers is evaluated.  Employees need to take care to find the balance between being properly rewarded for their efforts and avoiding the disastrous consequences of being labelled a serial ‘job-hopper’. 

Given the construction boom in Hong Kong and the increasing desperation of many employers to entice staff away from their competitors, 2014’s staff turnover rate in construction looks set to be even higher than before.

Once you feel it is time to take a look at your career options and/or the value of your skills on the construction marketplace, be it in Hong Kong or elsewhere in the world, please get in touch.  We have established relationships with the leading players in the Hong Kong and Macau construction industry. In particular, I am actively seeking candidates with experience in Civil Engineering, Geotechnical Engineering, Design Engineering, and M&E Engineering at all levels.

Kung Hei Fat Choi!

Dan Kirk
Recruitment Consultant
Maxim Recruitment
Hong Kong and Asia Region

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