Quantity Surveying & Construction Jobs UK - Hong Kong - Canada - Worldwide

Relocating to Hong Kong: A Personal View

This October, I left Australia and moved to Hong Kong to join the Maxim team as a construction recruitment consultant.  For me, the transition to life and work in Hong Kong was smooth partly because I’ve been here many times over the past few years and also, because I have extended family that live here. 

Unsurprisingly, the boom in the Hong Kong construction industry is prompting a major inflow of first timers and returning locals to Hong Kong, so I thought that my personal experiences of a successful relocation to Hong Kong might be of interest to some of our job seekers who will get the chance to come here. 

Deciding on a move to a new location is never an easy task. This is especially the case if you are not familiar with your destination. However, this is where I think Hong Kong sets itself apart from other cities. I’ve always thought of Hong Kong as a cultural melting pot and whether it’s the allure of the night life, the shopping, or the cuisine, one thing is for certain; Hong Kong is not only a very dynamic place to be but also a very easy place to settle into. The city seamlessly combines striking elements of East and West to create an environment that’s both exotic and accessible to locals and expats alike. You may find that you end up with a smaller salary than you’re used to at home but the cost of living can be far lower.

Job Interviews and Job Offers
Clearly it is always a good idea to confirm a new job before deciding to relocate.  However if you are not already in your new destination, how can this be done?  In my case, I found my construction recruitment consultant job through a career search on Google and landing directly on the Maxim Recruitment website. After reading the recruitment consultant job description advertised and doing my research on Maxim Recruitment, I submitted my CV.  I was pleased that I was offered a phone interview for the job almost straight away.  The conversation went well and I was then invited to fly up to Hong Kong from Australia for a face to face  final interview. 

There’s no point paying for a flight to Hong Kong (or anywhere else) for an interview if you are unsure about the company or the role. For me, the gut feeling was there so I took a chance and it paid off.  I subsequently found out that it was the perception of my attitude as proactive and positive in coming over for interview that landed me the job.  Even if you don’t have a confirmed interview, the very act of committing to and confirming a trip over with definite dates can get you job interviews – if people know you are serious enough to come to town, they’ll often agree to meet you. Be aware of the dates of public holidays in Hong Kong though – its not too long to Chinese New Year at the end of January 2012 and most companies will be closed for a number of days.

Besides the cost of the flight, the only other significant potential cost to consider during a trip over is accommodation - I was fortunate enough to stay at a friend’s house but with a bit of research appropriate accommodation can be found easily enough.  Weighing up the pros and cons, I’d recommend a visit for interviews to any capable and serious professional construction industry candidate. 

Employment Visas, Insurance & Bank Accounts
Okay, so my interview went well and I was made an offer at Maxim Recruitment which I was pleased to accept. What then? For me the paperwork stage was pretty, stress free. I already had a HKID & I found the process of opening bank accounts & sorting insurance out etc pretty easy as well.  Most people confirm that administration associated with relocating to Hong Kong is pretty easy compared to most other countries.  Clearly if a work visa is required that is an important hurdle to jump, however most construction employers will have the experience to be able to help you with this without too many complications.

Accommodation And The Cost Of Living
It is worth noting that accommodation prices in Central Hong Kong are high, but that there are a wide variety of options within easy commute from the centre. I chose to live in a small place in Central and managed a flat share with a friend at a surprisingly reasonable rate.

During my house hunt I used or was advised of the following property resources:

    Century 21
    LJ Hooker

Other colleagues in the Maxim Recruitment office live in a variety of locations around Hong Kong  - Central, Wanchai, Discover Bay, Mui Wo, Happy Valley & Lamma Island – each caters for a different requirement be it space for family life, commuting journey time or even beachside living!

In my view, the overall cost of living in Hong Kong is generally quite low. I’ve found that necessary commodities such as food are more than reasonably priced along with the added convenience of a wide selection of locations and longer trading hours than what I’m used to back in Australia. Further to this, the tax burden for locals & expats in construction in Hong Kong, is claimed to be the 3rd lowest in the world by InvestHongKong.

I can also confirm that Hong Kong’s transport is one of the highest rated public transport systems in the world. It’s fast, cheap, efficient, and covers all regions of Hong Kong making travel to work & for leisure a breeze. 

For example, one of my colleagues has a half hour ferry ride from an outlying island to Central Hong Kong but due to the efficiency of the transport, it’s faster than his old commute into central London…and he now gets to live opposite a beach!

Work/Life Balance
We all know the old adage: all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy and Hong Kong has no shortage of engaging activities to keep you occupied during your down time. Whether it is outdoor adventures or an afternoon spent exploring all the vibrant nooks and crannies of the city, Hong Kong doesn’t disappoint. There are plenty of guidebooks (Lonely Planet) and websites such as www.asiaxpat.com on this subject but for me the highlights have got to include local restaurants, exploring the New Territories and the buzz of evening drinks in Central, Soho and LQF.

Looking Forward
I’ve been living in Hong Kong for just over a month now & I’ve still got a lot to discover about the place – however I’m already certain I’ve made the right career decision and right choice of location.  I’d recommend Hong Kong to any potential construction expat – even more so if they are willing to entrust myself or colleagues at Maxim with their CV to find them their dream job here!!

Best wishes,

Marcus Tsui
Recruitment Consultant
Maxim Recruitment

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