Is your Recruiter a Weeder or a SeederI coined this expression a few years ago and frankly, I’m surprised it didn’t catch on. Particularly in Asia, many companies seem content to let their recruiters simply ‘weed out’ candidates that don’t get a check in the boxes. In doing so, they are losing sight of finding someone who can meet the performance objectives without being burdened by the employer’s preconceived success factors.Indeed, these factors are often in reality ‘status-quo’ factors.

The ‘Weeder’ recruiter will disqualify candidates who don’t meet the salary band, required years of experience, job title expectations or all mandated skills.

The ‘Seeder’ will identify the motivators and performance benchmarks of meeting increasing challenges over time, the ability to acquire or hire skills that they don’t currently have and will understand how they overcame obstacles relevant to the hiring company.

If you want to seed your organisation with different skills and make hires capable of developing beyond the role they are being hired into, look to your gatekeepers! It might be worth reminding them that great performers are unlikely to be interested in lateral transfers or in companies that equate future potential with check-box hiring.

Author Peter Udall

Comments Off on British expat survey 2014: “Rise of Far East”

British expat survey 2014: “Rise of Far East”

Posted by | October 11, 2014 | living-in-hong-kong, moving-to-hong-kong, working-in-hong-kong

British expat survey 2014

British expat survey 2014

The global Quality of Life Index, carried out by Centre for Future Studies, examines British expatriate opinions and attitudes on lifestyle, employment and financial status. The Nat West sponsored 2014 report comments on “the rise of the Far East with China, Singapore and Hong Kong soaring up the league table.”

They note that “in 2013, the number of work visas issued in Hong Kong to UK citizens jumped 45 per cent to 3,907. This number marked a record high. British expats in Hong Kong are attracted by low taxes (74%), efficient public transport (58%) and the widespread use of English (92%). The downsides, however, are a shortage of international schools (34%), overcrowding (73%) and air pollution (94%).” No real surprises for anyone already resident!

Although HK only made it into 8th place, it has fared better in previous surveys by AT Kearney  (2014) and The Economist Intelligence Unit (2012).

Author: Marion Udall, Editor

Comments Off on Hong Kong ranked #5 in Global City index

Hong Kong ranked #5 in Global City index

Posted by | September 22, 2014 | living-in-hong-kong, working-in-hong-kong

In A.T. Kearney’s “Global Cities Present & Future” report for 2014, Hong Kong has retained its fifth place globally behind New York, London, Paris and Tokyo. The report studied 84 cities across 26 metrics in five core areas.

  • Business Activity
  • Human Capital
  • Information Exchange
  • Cultural Experience
  • Political Engagement
HK as a Global City

HK as a Global City

Unsurprisingly, Business Activity was one of Hong Kong’s strongest metrics with Cultural Experience and Political Engagement scoring behind other cities. The level of Political Engagement is again, fairly unsurprising as Hong Kong struggles towards a universal suffrage mechanism that will satisfy both Beijing and the local political activists/populace. The Hong Kong Cultural Experience is relatively rich in terms of cuisine, language, customs/festivals etc. but is impacted with a lack of historical building preservation. More on this in our next post!

The Authors note that “Mainland China’s integration in the global economy is reflected in advances in the index. Indeed, as Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou climb the ranking, other key cities in Asia (such as Hong Kong, Taipei, Singapore, and Seoul) have remained stagnant or declined in relative terms.”

Peter Udall (Guest Editor)

Mainland China’s integration in the global economy is reflected in advances in the index. Indeed, as Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou climb the ranking, other key cities in Asia (such as Hong Kong, Taipei, Singapore, and Seoul) have remained stagnant or declined in relative terms. – See more at:
Mainland China’s integration in the global economy is reflected in advances in the index. Indeed, as Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou climb the ranking, other key cities in Asia (such as Hong Kong, Taipei, Singapore, and Seoul) have remained stagnant or declined in relative terms. – See more at:
Comments Off on Global Cities of Opportunity 2014

Global Cities of Opportunity 2014

Posted by | September 6, 2014 | living-in-hong-kong, working-in-hong-kong

HK City of Opportunity

HK City of Opportunity

PwCs latest Cities of Opportunity report analyzes 30 cities (all capitals of finance, commerce, and culture) and through their current performance, seeks to understand what makes cities function best.  PwC also investigated both the urbanization and demographic mega-trends that shape global cities.

Hong Kong  with 1,156 points made it into 8th place overall, behind London (1,290 points), New York, Singapore (1,230), Toronto, San Francisco, Paris and Stockholm.

Hong Kong scored well for:

  • Airport-City Access
  • Attracting Foreign Domestic Investment
  • Broadband Quality
  • Cost of public transport
  • Digital Economy
  • Ease of Commute
  • Ease of entry (visa)
  • Ease of starting a business
  • IP Protection
  • International Toursists
  • Shareholder Protection
  • Maths/Science Skills
  • Level of Operational Risk
  • Top 100 Airport
  • Corporate Tax Rate
  • Workforce Management Risk
  • Working Age Population
  • World University Rankings

Hong Kong scored poorly for:

  • Cost of Business Occupancy
  • Natural Disaster Risk (?)
  • Public Park Space

Peter Udall (Guest Editor)

Comments Off on Hong Kong – where politically connected businessmen are most likely to prosper

Hong Kong – where politically connected businessmen are most likely to prosper

Posted by | September 2, 2014 | living-in-hong-kong, working-in-hong-kong

The Crony-Capitalism Index 2014

The Crony-Capitalism Index 2014

The Economist recently created an index around crony-capitalism, or more exactly “rent-seeking”: grabbing a bigger slice of the economic pie rather than making the pie bigger. Common examples of rent-seeking (which may or may not be illegal) include forming cartels and lobbying for rules that benefit a firm at the expense of competitors and customers.

This is hardly a surprise, in a City where the combined wealth of Hong Kong’s billionaires is equivalent to more than 70% of Hong Kong’s GDP (Source: Wall Street Journal) and a fifth of the population live in poverty. Their recent article “Hong Kong’s Tycoons Under Attack” singled out Cheung Kong Holdings Ltd., Sun Hung Kai Properties, Chow Tai Fook Enterprises, Swire Pacific Ltd., Wheelock and Jardine Matheson Holdings Ltd. This is no means an exuaustive list of who sits on the wealthy side of one of the world’s most imbalanced societies. Read the Forbes list of Hong Kong’s richest individuals.

Scoring Hong Kong in first place globally, The Economist notes “Countries that do well on the crony index generally have better bureaucracies and institutions, as judged by the World Economic Forum. But efficient government is no guarantee of a good score: Hong Kong and Singapore are packed with billionaires in crony industries. This reflects scarce land, which boosts property values, and their role as entrepots for shiftier neighbours. Hong Kong has also long been lax on antitrust: it only passed an economy-wide competition law two years ago.”

Author: Peter Udall

Global Information Technology Report

2014 Global IT Report

This year marks the 13th edition of the Global Information Technology Report, which provides a comprehensive assessment of networked readiness, or how prepared an economy is to apply the benefits of information and communications technologies (ICTs) to promote economic growth and well-being. Using updated methodology that was introduced in 2012, the report ranks the progress of 148 economies in leveraging ICTs to increase productivity, economic growth and the number of quality jobs.

With the most pronounced improvement among the top 10, Hong Kong SAR (see page 179) climbs six positions to 8th place. The sharp improvement in its score is driven by improvements in conditions for innovation and entrepreneurship (2nd) that were already very positive, a robust skills base (10th), and stronger business (16th) and government usage (24th). Overall, Hong Kong SAR enjoys a fairly well developed ICT infrastructure that, coupled with a stable environment conducive to innovation and entrepreneurship (4th), results in good economic (13th) and social (11th) impacts. Notwithstanding these strengths, individual uptake remains lower than it is in the Nordic countries that lead the rankings.

Indeed, it is this access to the skilled local talent pool that contributes to making Hong Kong ‘the best country for doing business globally‘!

Peter Udall

Guest Editor

Comments Off on Asian markets where expatriate staff receive the highest pay

Asian markets where expatriate staff receive the highest pay

Posted by | May 22, 2014 | living-in-hong-kong, moving-to-hong-kong, working-in-hong-kong

Hong Kong expat payECA International have recently released their survey results revealing the Asian markets where expatriate staff receive the highest pay packages.

According to their survey results, middle managers in Hong Kong on expat packages receive the 5th highest pay in the region. Local salaries were the second lowest in Asia, but the benefits were the highest. If benefits are excluded, Hong Kong drops to 15th place.

It should be noted that ‘expat’ terms usually only apply to internal transfers or to new hires above the middle management level. Most new hires at this level will be on ‘local terms’ even if the candidate resides abroad. See our related articles on applying for Hong Kong jobs and Hong Kong employment contracts.

Marion Udall


Comments Off on English Proficiency in Hong Kong is in ‘stagnation’ as Mandarin rises‏

English Proficiency in Hong Kong is in ‘stagnation’ as Mandarin rises‏

Posted by | January 23, 2014 | living-in-hong-kong, Recruitment, working-in-hong-kong

Education First (EF) is an international training company that has helped 15 million people learn a new language. Based on 750,000 adults taking English tests in in 2012, EF have released their 2013 ‘English Proficiency Index’ (EPI). Their annual results have allowed EF to compare standards across countries in much the same way as the Pisa tests compare international education systems. Their conclusion is that English Proficiency in Hong Kong is in ‘stagnation’ as Mandarin rises‏.

Asian EPI Trends 2013

Asian EPI Trends 2013

In absolute terms, Hong Kong’s EPI Ranked 22nd with ‘Moderate Proficiency’, grouped with South Korea, Japan, Indonesia, and Vietnam. The latter two are increasing proficiency, whilst Hong Kong, South Korea and Japan have declining proficiency. The ‘Moderate Proficiency’ group lags behind ‘High Proficiency’ countries such as Malaysia and Singapore, in 11th and 12th places respectively.

The Hong Kong report and infographic (download the PDF) makes several observations, such as “Hong Kong struggles to maintain its traditionally high level of English proficiency” and “Hong Kong presents itself as an international hub for business, trade, and finance. English is today’s language of global commerce. If Hong Kong’s English proficiency cannot keep pace with that of its neighbors, it may be losing its competitive advantage.”

Common European Framework of Reference for Languages

Common European Framework of Reference for Languages scale

The Hong Kong report also noted also noted that ” With mainland China as Hong Kong’s top trade partner, accounting for half of its total trade in 2012, mainland tourists has compelled the retail and service industries to hire employees who can communicate with these guests. To accommodate these economic realities, the Hong Kong government adopted its trilingual policy in 1997 and has invested millions in improving its workforce’s Mandarin skills. As a result, the number of Hong Kong residents who reported that they can speak Mandarin increased from 33% in 2001 to 48% in 2011. Though the rising importance of Mandarin has not devalued English in the Hong Kong job market, it follows logically that when the focus shifts from a single foreign language to two, there is less time allocated to English study than previously, and proficiency levels suffer as a result.”

Note: The ratings exclude countries with the highest (C1+C2) and lowest (A1) proficiency ratings, based on the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR) Languages scale.

Marion Udall

Comments Off on Corporate Team Building in Hong Kong

Corporate Team Building in Hong Kong

Posted by | December 12, 2013 | working-in-hong-kong

Corporate team building in Hong Kong usually comprises meals or a fairly restricted range of internal or third-party activities. If your team has tried scavenger hunts, paintball, art jamming and ‘Virtual F1‘ (or you simply want to try something different), try ‘Crossroads’.

The Crossroads Foundation is a Hong Kong based, non-profit organisation linking those who are in need with those who can provide help. They offer four intersections, literally crossroads, to bring both together.

One of those, their Global Village range of simulations, provides a crossroads between the lifestyles of the rich and the poor.

Teams are immersed in situations that simulate the challenges of those in need. During a half day or whole day, teams are taken through activities that reveal insights into the lives of people and families living with specific challenges. The Crossroads corporate team building therefore raises awareness of issues and could serve as a springboard for corporate CSR initiatives or personal volunteering.


The ‘Struggle for Survival’ saw us trying to earn enough to survive by making paper bags out of newspaper and home made glue. We had to earn enough to pay for rent, food, sanitation, medical needs and education. Groups that couldn’t make enough money ended up in the hands of a loan shark. We had to deal with unexpected setbacks and some very thought provoking decisions and outcomes.

In conclusion, the simulations are a great way to support a local NFP whilst building a team and raising awareness of those in need.

Peter Udall
Guest Editor

Comments Off on Human Capital is the #1 CEO challenge for Asia

Human Capital is the #1 CEO challenge for Asia

Posted by | November 27, 2013 | Recruitment, working-in-hong-kong

global labour migration

Global Labour Migration

The Global Talent Competitiveness Index measures the performance of countries across the world on their talent competitiveness, i.e. their ability to attract, develop and retain talent. Produced by Adecco, INSEAD and the Human Capital Leadership Institute (HCLI) the 2013 GTCI Report doesn’t include HK specifically but makes some interesting observations.

Human Capital is the #1 CEO challenge for Asia (page 70).

The ‘Importance-Adjusted’ strategies for managing Human Capital in Asia are:

  1. Grow talent internally
  2. Provide employee training and development
  3. Raise employee engagement
  4. Improve performance management processes and accountability
  5. Increase efforts to retain critical talent
  6. Enhance the effectiveness of the senior management team
  7. Improve corporate brand and EVP to attract talent
  8. Hire more talent in the open market
  9. Improve effectiveness of front-line supervisors and managers
  10. Improve leadership development programmes

The full 284-page report makes for some interesting reading, with a China specific report on page 110.

Peter Udall
Guest Editor

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