Wharf Cable, which operates a 30-channel cable system, plans to recruit about 100 staff for various aspects of its TV operation. The television industry is growing faster in Asia than in any other part of the world and is an exciting field in which to work and one with many opportunities for career advancement. The Hong Kong cable operator, which celebrates its third anniversary on Thursday, has expanded from 1,000 employees in its first year to 3,000. Cindy Wong, Wharf Cable's deputy controller of human resources (TV operation), said the company would hire more than 100 people within the next year. Openings include those for engineers, with the company requiring about 10 electronic engineers for its television programming department. They will be responsible for equipment maintenance, the transmission and up-link of the signal and emergencies. Ms Wong said engineers were a vital part of a television operation. 'They are in demand because we face a lot of competition for their services, not only from television stations but from other telecommunications companies. The pool of engineers is limited.' She said all TV companies were trying to draw the best people from among the few engineers available. There are openings for senior engineers and junior engineers (technicians). Written and spoken Cantonese is a must with English preferred. Senior engineers need two to 10 years' experience, while junior engineers can be hired straight from college. All engineers are required to take a minimum of six sessions of weekly education programmes. Portia Leung, Wharf Cable human resources manager, said in-house training would be provided. 'On-going education is important in this industry as the technology is constantly changing and it is to our benefit to keep our employees on top of the latest developments,' she said. One of Wharf Cable's fastest growing departments is its communication network division which is responsible for the hard wiring of cable into homes. More than 1.2 million of the territory's homes have been wired for cable. 'Our goal is to have the whole territory wired in the future to make cable accessible to everyone,' she said. The department has about 20 openings for engineers, technicians, survey design and quality control inspectors. Depending on the position, candidates require a university degree or technical college qualifications and two to five years' working experience. Selling cable is also an important part of the company's plans and it has about 20 openings for direct sales positions. Candidates should have a Form Five education with a minimum of two years' sales experience. 'We're looking for people who are presentable and have excellent inter-personal skills. They work on a base salary plus commissions so, the better they are at selling, the more they can make. The average salary is up to $20,000 per month,' Ms Leung said. There are also about 50 openings in the customer service department. Mainly a part-time position, in-bound operators receive customer inquiries, while out-bound operators ask people to subscribe to cable. The positions require about 18 to 20 hours of work per week. Cantonese is essential. On the television production side, Ms Wong said as additional channels came on stream, such as the new home-shopping channel, more staff would be needed. Wharf Cable is also looking for between 10 and 15 news reporters for its two Chinese-language news channels. Candidates must be fluent in written and spoken Cantonese and English and have a degree in communications or journalism. 'You need to be bilingual because you will have to interview people for both our Chinese and English-language news channels,' Ms Wong said. 'We will take people straight out of college as trainee reporters and they can work their way up. As they become more experienced, they can become a senior reporter and eventually move into producing their own programmes. It's great on-the-job training.' Employees of Wharf Cable, who work a 51/2-day week, receive a 13-month salary with a performance incentive bonus. Ms Leung said this usually worked out to another month's bonus. Staff are entitled to 12 days annual leave, while those at management level get 16.5. Everyone receives 80 per cent medical outpatient privileges and up to 100 per cent hospitalisation coverage, depending on their position. Other benefits include a provident fund, use of a holiday home on Lantau, English and Mandarin lessons and a recognition programme involving cash rewards.