Maintaining a smooth operation

PUBLISHED : Friday, 11 March, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 11 March, 2011, 12:00am

With flourishing trade and burgeoning demand for event space, the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre (HKCEC) is ideally placed to reinforce its own - and the city's - reputation for holding flawlessly run, cost-effective events of every size.

To ensure each aspect of the complex organisation, planning and support operations run smoothly for visitors and exhibitors alike, HKCEC will be recruiting for about 20 key positions. The openings will be in departments such as event planning and co-ordination, food and beverage (F&B), engineering, management information systems and housekeeping.

The priority is to attract candidates eager to immerse themselves in a fast-paced, challenging business that will inspire them to think innovatively and find effective solutions.

'Our business is special,' says Terry Kwan Chun-kit, HKCEC director of human resources and administration. 'We hold more than 1,000 events annually for local and international clients. People are understandably quite interested in joining us to learn and experience our line of business.'

He notes that the scope and style of work requires employees to be committed and to take the initiative. In doing so, he adds, they can learn much more about their specific disciplines than they would elsewhere.

For instance, HKCEC's 300 F&B staff cater for dine-in customers at the seven on-site outlets, and also for conferences, banquets and concerts. The facility team is responsible for the upkeep of the 306,000 square metres of space, while setting up meeting venues and attending to requirements for all conferences and exhibitions.

'[Positions in] our event management team are also very popular among applicants,' Kwan says. 'It is a platform to prove what you've got, ensuring our events run smoothly.'

Sometimes, it takes a year of preparation to organise an event, involving clients, vendors, internal departments and government authorities. And various in-house teams may be handling multiple events simultaneously.

To excel at the job requires high 'emotional quotient', excellent communication skills, tact and the ability to multitask. In terms of personal qualities, it is important to be patient, outgoing, self-confident and upbeat. Among applicants, degree holders who have taken event management in university have a definite advantage.

HKCEC senior event manager Janice Ng Sau-lai says she has enjoyed the challenges the job has presented since joining the event team in 2005.

'The culture of the team is welcoming,' she says. 'A senior staffer or mentor will show you the ropes until you are confident enough to handle small-scale events. After that, you will graduate to handling larger and even international events.'

Ng adds that what keeps her energised is the challenge of handling several concurrent events and the satisfaction of forging relationships with clients that are about more than just work.

Career ladder

Regional director, corporate communications

HK$83,300 to HK$125,000+

15 years+

Marketing communications director

HK$62,500 to HK$83,300+

10 years+

Marketing communications manager/Public relations manager

HK$41,600 to HK$62,500+

7 years+

Events manager

HK$25,000 to HK$37,500+

5 years+

Note: All monthly salary ranges include guaranteed bonuses and exclude discretionary bonuses, stock options, shares or other variable incentives as of January 2011

Source: Hudson