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Top 3 Legal Hiring Trends in 2017
In preparing for the last quarter of 2017 and looking ahead to 2018, it’s also a good time to look back on the year so far, and identify the top trends in legal recruitment and hiring in Hong Kong that will likely continue into 2018. Here are the three main insights that have stood out to me this year.
1. Chinese companies are actively creating new roles.
For legal professionals who have spoken to our consultants in Hong Kong this year, you would have been asked about your interest in working for: a Chinese bank, a Chinese fund house, a Chinese Fintech start-up, a Chinese property developer, a Chinese film distributor…and the list goes on.
Our Managing Director has pointed to Chinese companies being the key driver of hiring activities in Hong Kong this year and I can attest to that. I have prepared more candidates for interviews with Chinese companies this year than I have in the last seven years combined. Most of these companies are new to Hong Kong and are recruiting their first legal counsel outside of China. These roles are exciting and challenging, depending on your perspective, and like many things in life, I personally take on an optimistic view!
What this means for you: Equip yourself. Say “Yes!” to opportunities to work in supporting a business project in China: take a course in PRC law and learn Mandarin.
We understand that working with a Chinese company is not for everyone, so schedule an appointment with us for a chat, and I promise before you master your “bo-po-mo-fo”, we also have opportunities with multinational and Hong Kong companies to share with you.
2. Local firms are stepping up.
The Chinese companies that are actively hiring have caused job seekers to also look locally, helping them realise that many Hong Kong-based companies run stable and pragmatic businesses locally and internationally. Locally-based companies also provide excellent opportunities for career progression for in-house roles, allowing one to be much closer to senior management and business decision makers.
The image of local firms has been elevated in the minds of many, and we’ve seen that their remuneration packages have also stepped up to compete for talents trained by overseas headquartered companies. This is also true for local law firms: they have a competitive edge attracting a diverse clientele giving their associates new exposure. They also offer fast track career progression with flexible work arrangements.
What this means for you: Be open minded about your next step, connect with us for a consultation and to explore the many opportunities we have with local employers.
3. Multinational companies know what they want.
Openings within multinational companies are still plenty (yay!), especially for those that have been in Asia for a long time. However, most of these roles are replacement roles. They can also be upgrades or downgrades according to business needs. Hence their requirements (and budgets) are more specific and sometimes less flexible.
Again, my positive take on this is that you will know exactly what is expected of you to perform well, and hopefully this means achieving a better year-end bonus. Another piece of good news for Hong Kong lawyers is that regulators have made it slightly more difficult for foreign or Chinese lawyers to practise in Hong Kong. Within private practice, among international law firms, we notice funds lawyers are highly sought after.
What this means for you: If you are not a risk taker, the safe route is available, however, your job description and remuneration will also be quite predictable.
These are general trends we’ve seen so far in 2017. The best way to gain more insight into what the market has to offer is to schedule an appointment with a specialist consultant on my team. Our recommendations are always tailored to your situation and preferences.
Write me at [email protected], and we are looking forward to connecting with you!