Business Career Fair 2019: employers looked for candidates with broad knowledge of liberal arts
Hong Kong continues to be a leading financial hub attracting investment from around the world. And as the Greater Bay Area and Belt and Road economic initiatives gain traction, employers in key sectors will be looking for new recruits in order to boost business growth.
In particular, companies providing professional services, as well as those in insurance and financial planning are expected to increase headcount, while the expansion of e-commerce and online retail is creating new openings in the logistics industry.
According to representatives of companies taking part in the inaugural “Business Career Fair 2019”, organised by Lingnan University’s Faculty of Business, a top priority is to find ambitious young graduates with creativity and a critical mindset.
Accounting: qualifications are just basic
For example, there is strong demand at present for entry-level auditors, while many accounting firms are also looking for qualified professionals to fill more senior roles.
“Recognised professional qualifications, such as CPA from the Hong Kong Institute of Certified Public Accountants and FCCA from the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants, are the threshold,” said Wilson Luk, director of taxation services at APEC. “But these days, auditors are also expected to equip themselves with specialised knowledge of other industries and to show innovative thinking.”
It is recognised that technological advances in big data, artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics mean some of the simple, repetitive accounting tasks will soon be done by “machines”. However, experienced CPAs will still need to work alongside specialists to develop effective systems and ensure everything works as intended.
“Professionals in our field have to keep pace with these developments,” Luk said. “And graduates with double degrees, such as accounting with IT or engineering, will have an advantage because many accounting firms need these skills to offer comprehensive advisory services.”
Dave Chan, senior manager in the human resources department at Moore Stephens, agreed with those sentiments.
“The current market needs professionals who can support total services,” he said. “Job seekers with sound general knowledge have a head start, as do those who have a master’s degree in accounting, along with an undergraduate degree in logistics or IT. Our clients who provide customer services online often need advice on IT security issues.”
Moore Stephens offers accounting, auditing and advisory services and currently has vacancies for associates and tax consultants.
Golden opportunities for non-local graduates
Employers in the wealth management sector are also hiring to cope with the steady stream of investment from local, mainland Chinese and international clients.
“More mainlanders are seeking financial planning services in Hong Kong, with some of them benefiting from the Immigration Arrangement for Non-local Graduates programme,” said Seven Lam, unit manager at AIA International, which is looking to hire graduates from various disciplines for training schemes overseen by its in-house “AIA Premier Academy”.
Clement Chow, executive vice-president of Kirin Financial Group, said any young recruit should expect to work hard, but openings for financial management trainees and client relationship officers offered good prospects.
“We expect our employees to take a consultant’s approach, taking the time to develop an in-depth understanding of clients, so they can tailor investment plans to meet specific requirements,” Chow said. “A growing number of the simpler services will be handled by AI and offered via online platforms. But we still need new recruits who are enthusiastic about the sector and keen to build a career and cultivate personal relationships.”
E-commerce boosts logistic and supply-chain industries
Elsewhere, the rapid growth of e-commerce has accelerated the transformation of the logistics sector and supply chain services.
“Some traditional retailers have established e-commerce platforms, but they all need logistics companies to deliver products to the end-users,” said Gorden Wong, assistant manager for training and development at Kerry Logistics (Hong Kong). “We focus on B2B business, and our services now encompass warehousing, shipping, and courier delivery.”
At the fair, the company was promoting its management trainee and graduate trainee programmes.
“We are developing business in countries along the Belt and Road, so some of our employees are posted overseas,” Wong said. “We look for candidates with a global perspective, creative thinking and IT knowledge, as well as good business sense.”
His general impression was the Lingnan students he met at the fair were articulate, proactive in asking pertinent questions, and keen to learn.
Some of the exhibiting companies have employed Lingnan graduates in previous years. Chan at Moore Stephens said they were generally industrious, demonstrated a can-do attitude, and were quick learners.“They are also good team players,” he added.
Held on March 28 at the Skylight in Lingnan's campus with over 10 local and multinational corporates, the fair provided not only a platform for exhibitors to recruit and communicate with students, but most importantly, an opportunity for students to learn about the industries and the latest trends in the job market.