Hong Kong employees are complacent working domestically, with only 78 percent of them seeing travelling for work as an added value to their job, coming second last in Asia.
On the contrary, employees in China strongly see the value of traveling for work (98 percent), followed by India (98 percent), Malaysia (97 percent), Australia (84 percent), New Zealand (79 percent) and Singapore (79 percent), according to Randstad Hong Kong’s Q1 Workmonitor research.
This is a surprising finding as workers in an international hub like Hong Kong are generally expected to be highly mobile.
The research also found that Hong Kong employees are not as keen to work with colleagues from different nationalities and cultures, compared to their Asian counterparts. Lagging behind India (93 percent), Singapore (88 percent) and New Zealand (85 percent), only 83 percent of Hong Kong employees indicated interest.
This shows that in terms of having a global perspective and valuing diversity, employees in Hong Kong trail their peers in Singapore, a comparable global hub in Asia.
Michael Smith, Director of Randstad Hong Kong, Malaysia and Singapore, said, “As Asia’s world city, Hong Kong employees need to ambitiously eye the global market and look to gain worldly exposure to remain competitive internationally.”
“Our Workmonitor research found that one in five Hong Kong employees do not appreciate the value of expanding their professional footprint beyond domestic boundaries. One of the reasons is that over half of them (54 percent) think traveling for work is a burden on their personal life. This rate is higher than that of our Asian neighbours, including New Zealand (34 percent), Singapore (43 percent), Malaysia (50 percent), China (52 percent) and Japan (53 percent).”
“Employees’ increasing desire for work-life balance may also play a role, because juggling ongoing tasks and overseas meetings as well as overcoming time differences can be draining.”
“This is a win-win for both employers and employees. There are obvious benefits to gaining professional experience and exposure abroad, including developing flexibility and adaptability to new and unfamiliar environments, building cultural awareness and acumen, developing a global network, practicing cross-cultural communication and familiarizing oneself with international standards and best practices.”
Smith also said overseas experience is increasingly sought after by employers. “Thanks to technology, we are living in a hyper-connected world with businesses collaborating across the globe every day. This trend has created a growing demand for individuals who have overseas exposure and are capable of working with peers from various geographies and cultures.”
Employees should actively seek opportunities to broaden their horizons, including taking a gap year between jobs to gain valuable exposure in a foreign country. It is not true that companies do not favour candidates who have taken a gap year. Rather, it is indeed an advantage to have overseas experience in a relevant field.
Young employees and students in Hong Kong should also take advantage of the Government’s initiatives such as the Working Holiday Scheme, the ASEAN Internship Scheme and the Scheme for Cross-boundary Study Tour.
These programs will provide overseas exposure for candidates and build a competitive training ground for local talent. They will equip the next generation of workers with the relevant vocational and business-ready skills that will enhance their employability.