Your BLCC organized a webinar targeting graduate students on Thursday 12 May. It was our first time organizing an event for this target audience! Students who are considering a captivating career in Hong Kong could find out more about the job market in Hong Kong during this webinar. We discussed what exciting opportunities are on offer and how this experience would benefit their career path.
We were pleased to welcome three high-caliber Belgian speakers who live and work in Hong Kong: Peter Robberecht, the Consul-General of Belgium to Hong Kong & Macau; Philippe Latour, CFO at Ageas Asia Services Limited; Justine de Vlam, Export Manager APAC at Duvel Moortgat. They have tons of experience and were eager to share their most valuable insights and answer the students’ questions about living and working in Hong Kong.
Robin Heemskerk, the moderator of this event and General Manager at the Belgium-Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce (BLCC), welcomed everyone and started by introducing the Chamber. He explained the objectives and activities of our Chamber to the students. Then, he introduced our three speakers after which he passed the mic to Peter Robberecht.
Mr. Robberecht started by giving an insight into the concerns addressed by the EU and Belgium about Hong Kong. He addressed the role of Hong Kong as a trading and investment hub and its role in European relations with Mainland China. Overall, Peter believes Hong Kong will remain an international city, but increasingly influenced by the Central Government of the Mainland of China. Finally, he explained the flexibility and ease to get a working visa in Hong Kong, which is a unique advantage of the city.
Mr. Robberecht gave the floor to Mr. Latour, who introduced the Hong Kong job market. Financial services and luxury goods are the most present industries on the market. A major trend now is green finance and ESG. Moreover, many companies who want to cover Asia and Greater China have their regional office in Hong Kong. Hong Kong is ruled by the Common Law, which is the key driver for many international groups to settle here in Hong Kong. After introducing the job market, Mr. Latour shifted further to the opportunities for graduate students. There is a scarcity of talent as we are currently seeing a net outflow of people from Hong Kong; unfortunately we are currently seeing fewer incoming talents. For young graduates, the major entry points to the market are the graduate programs and internships. Mr. Latour ends by mentioning the major organizations in Belgium that will be able to help students answer their questions about Hong Kong.
Mr. Latour passed the spotlight to Ms. De Vlam, who discussed her personal insights into working and living in Hong Kong. She is convinced that the expat life is a major opportunity for your personal development. However, you should only do it for the right reasons. If you are curious about new cultures and enjoy meeting people from different backgrounds, then you should go for it. Hong Kong is a very interesting and highly energetic city to be an expat in. You will find a lot of elements from your home country, but also increasingly Chinese elements. People in Hong Kong have a strong mentality of “work hard play hard”, and the jobs are highly competitive. However, next to the long working hours, Hong Kong offers a wide variety of fun activities. The key takeaway from her experience is that you will be constantly challenged in your way of working, because of the high concentration of cultures. Her main challenge is the distance from her family, and the sacrifices you have to make as a result of that. However, the city welcomes a high concentration of expats, who become your local Hong Kong family.
We ended this very instructive webinar with a Q&A session. The students asked some interesting questions regarding the work/life balance, the Visa, and the wages. Our three speakers were very responsive and offered insightful answers. Robin concluded the webinar by offering his help and the Consul’s help to all the participants who will have questions in the future.