Rise in sourcing lifts need for specialists

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 08 December, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 08 December, 2007, 12:00am

Quality assurance

The demand for experienced quality assurance staff is particularly strong across most industries in Asia. This is especially true for retailers and brands in fields such as apparel and textiles, and electronics.

This is because there is increased sourcing activity from Asia and consumers are placing a higher level of importance on product quality, safety and reliability, which is in turn raising expectations on the supplier's side. There is a trend to migrate more of the quality assurance process towards the vendor, leading to more strategic positions in Asia and a demand for qualified and specialised candidates for mid-management roles.

A quality assurance professional usually develops and implements policies and procedures so that products are manufactured and delivered with the desired specifications. This may also involve overseeing the internal, or outsourced, quality inspection or control and testing process.

Hong Kong sourcing offices have a high demand for manager-level candidates, whereas the demand in the mainland tends to be more for manufacturing operations.

Many junior-level staff previously in Hong Kong have seen their positions moved to the mainland. Candidates most in demand are those who have five to 10 years of experience, especially in a particular industry. Academic and professional qualifications are becoming more common, although they are often not required if suitable work experience can be demonstrated.

There is now a wide variety of certifications that can be obtained, while working, that may assist with career progression. Either a manufacturer or a company, sourcing products from Asia, requires quality assurance staff. New recruits often start as a quality inspector, or in another related technical role, and work their way up. Potential advancement is in line with other positions in the manufacturing or sourcing industry, with significant experience generally required before promotion to manager grade. Salaries for manager-level candidates, working for international companies, are generally in the range of HK$400,000 to HK$600,000 per year.

Contributed by Anthony Modrich, manager of supply chain and logistics division at Robert Walters Hong Kong. Please visit www.classifiedpost.com/co for other industries