In the electronics manufacturing sector, there is strong demand at present for professionals able to fill middle management roles, and it is confidently expected to continue for some time to come.
According to Emily Cheng, general manager of Pacific Regent Global (HK) Consultancy, there are vacancies for engineers, purchasing managers, product or project managers, and factory managers and for people with skills in sales and marketing and business development. In addition, Hong Kong professionals, who have a reputation for their integrity and expertise, are needed for positions as operations directors, as well as QC and QA managers.
"Graduates with two to three years' experience should look for employers willing to invest in training and development," Ms Cheng advises. "In particular, they should aim to learn as much as possible about the company's operations and production processes once they join."
She adds that most people moving to a new position can expect salary increases in the range of five to 10 per cent, but that more than that is sometimes on offer, especially for key senior roles which require specialist knowledge and experience. Provided the general economy remains strong, salary levels should continue to rise as a reflection of the need to attract and retain good quality staff.
Regarding entry-level positions for graduates, Ms Cheng says that the larger manufacturing and trading companies usually offer more training opportunities. She notes, though, that candidates should be ready to accept roles, whether in shipping, accounting, engineering, sales or marketing, which involve either frequent travel or longer-term relocation to the mainland. This is now very much part of the job, but means people must take into account family considerations and other personal factors if they are contemplating this type of move for career reasons.
Nowadays, mainland work experience is seen as essential for anyone hoping to move up to a senior position or to start their own venture or production plant. In terms of general career development, Ms Cheng recommends that graduates should be patient and appreciate that each company has a unique culture and its own way of getting things done.
"It takes time to learn everything," she says. "A minimum of three to five years is usually needed to develop oneself and have a real talent for the industry."