Inspection and laboratory testing company SGS Hong Kong is seeking six technical and sales staff to help it cope with a business boom sparked by the growing number of firms adopting better quality and safety control procedures. The Swiss-based company has operations in more than 140 countries, employing about 40,000 people. It tests and inspects consumer goods, textiles, electrical and electronic products, packaging and, most recently, environmental and biosciences services. Manufacturers, buyers and governments use SGS to provide an independent assessment on whether the products or services they are providing or buying meet international standards, usually for the US and European markets. Locally, SGS employs about 400 people mainly in laboratory testing services. While the company supplies inspection services for companies with operations in the mainland, the products or samples are usually tested in Hong Kong. Goods such as textiles, toys and children's products, and electronic items are put through a series of stringent tests to evaluate physical, chemical, toxicity, microbiological, electrical, electromagnetic compatibility, acoustic and reliability performance. John McHale, managing director of SGS Hong Kong, said the company had achieved double-digit growth for the past eight years. It was forecasting a 13 to 14 per cent annual increase and attributed the growth to strong economies in such traditional Asian export markets as the United States and Europe and through diversifying into other areas such as biosciences. The company recently spent $3 million on building a biosciences laboratory to serve the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries. 'The last couple of years have been good for SGS but we will be impacted if there is a significant change in those economies,' Mr McHale said. 'Buyers use our service because they don't want to have difficulties when it comes to selling their products in those countries. 'By having an independent third party testing laboratory perform safety tests against some generally accepted and recognised standard, they have the comfort of selling their products in a country knowing there is not a safety issue involved.' He said the lab testing industry was changing in Hong Kong as more companies moved their operations further north and inland on the mainland. To be able to service those clients, the industry had to move with them. Mr McHale said the mainland was the company's biggest growth area. It would add about three more offices to its existing 10 offices before 2000. 'This is a growing company and there is opportunity for people to come in as technicians and rise to a more senior level within their respective division. 'There is also an opportunity to go from one division to another. We don't limit people to their one division,' he said. 'As a global company, if people are willing to consider relocation, it can make such arrangements.' SGS has an opening for a section manager in its physical laboratory department. The manager will be in charge of the hardline section, including sunglasses and furniture, and be responsible for new development and daily running of the operation. Candidates should have a higher diploma or degree in engineering and five years experience in hardline testing. An executive is needed in the textile laboratory to issue testing reports and liaise with customers on testing matters. Candidates should have a diploma or degree in textile technology or equivalent and a minimum two years testing experience. A senior technician is requiredfor the chemical/ environmental laboratory to conduct routine environmental tooling. Applicants should at least have a diploma in applied science/environmental service (or a related discipline), a year's relevant experience and the ability to work under pressure. In the project resourcing services division, an experienced recruitment consultant is needed to work on industrial projects, manufacturing, food safety and environmental services. Candidates should be sales-oriented and have experience in Hong Kong or the mainland. The position includes business development activities. An executive in the international sales and business development division and an assistant marketing manager in the international certification services division are also required. SGS employees work a 5.5-day week and receive 13 months pay. Benefits include a bonus, 12 days annual leave, a medical and dental scheme, provident fund and an education allowance for job-related training.