Wanted: graduates for the health and safety industry

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 09 April, 2005, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 09 April, 2005, 12:00am

OUR EXPECTATIONS of quality standards in food, products and services seem to become more complex every day. As a result, manufacturers and service providers are required to comply with increasingly stringent international regulations governing many aspects of health and safety, as well as broader concerns about the environment.

As the chief gateway to the mainland's countless production centres for consumer goods, Hong Kong is perfectly placed to provide the verification, testing and certification services that are now much in demand.

'When you consider the vast range of products and services that need different types of testing and certification, our industry offers a wide variety of career opportunities,' said Candy Lee, director of people and organisational effectiveness for SGS Hong Kong.

As the local arm of a global company which provides verification, testing and certification services, SGS Hong Kong is on a drive to attract 150 recruits to join their existing workforce of more than 700.

Vacancies exist for graduates with a background in science, management and organisational management, and for sales, operational and clerical support staff.

SGS offers testing services for food, health care and pharmaceutical products, garments and textiles, toys, footwear and electrical goods. It also provides certification confirming international compliance with recognised standards for systems and services, including ISO 9001 and ISO 14001, SA 8000 and OHSAS 18001, covering various industries.

'Environmental testing and certification is certainly one area of growth that offers exciting possibilities,' Ms Lee said.

To create awareness, the company is organising a series of recruitment days, taking part in job expos, and has a programme of presentations at local universities.

'The reaction has been very rewarding because the majority of science or engineering students have given little thought to joining our industry as a career option,' Ms Lee said.

Graduates usually start as lab technicians or as customer service assistants to sales executives. Subsequent career development can be both horizontal and vertical and is determined by performance, ability and commitment. Wherever possible, managerial positions are filled by promotion from within. In particular, openings exist for lab technicians working with clients in the chemical and electronic industries. These positions provide the opportunity to gain experience while developing industry-specific knowledge.

Those who excel can expect promotion within 18 months to two years and may also be given assignments overseas with other SGS affiliates. Since its Hong Kong and China operations are under an integrated management team, transfers to mainland offices are also likely. Recruits receive extensive orientation training and are encouraged to keep acquiring new skills.

What's on offer

SGS is recruiting 150 people to meet demand in a rapidly developing industry.

Jobs include lab technicians, code of conduct auditor, sales executives and customer services assistants in the health-care, pharmaceutical, textile, footwear, toys and food industries.

The company promotes lifelong learning with training courses on industry and lifestyle topics.

Career development is both horizontal and vertical, based on performance, ability and commitment.

SGS employs 700 staff in Hong Kong and a further 2,000 on the mainland.