INEXPERIENCE can often hinder an individual's career progression. It can mean that you will have to wait a bit longer to land your dream job or that you will need to take a course to improve your chances of winning a promotion. It might just make you decide to acquire enough expertise and contacts to launch your own business. But experience is not so important at the start of your career, and lack of it gives you more flexibility and a wider range of options. For an employer, a young person without much experience is someone they can mould to their own corporate identity. Anyone fresh out of university or with just a few years' experience might be interested in joining consumer goods giant Procter & Gamble (P&G), which is looking for 10 to 20 recruits as part of its rapid expansion in Hong Kong, Taiwan and the mainland. 'Greater China is the second-largest business region in the world for Procter & Gamble. Every year, we are seeing business expansion in terms of growth of our product lines, brands and business size, so there has been more demand to create lots of positions,' said Kris Lui, senior human resources manager at Procter & Gamble Hong Kong, which employs 350 people. P&G has made a number of important acquisitions in the past four years, including the purchase of big brands such as Wella and Clairol, and is expected to finalise the takeover of Gillette soon. 'We have a global acquisition nearly every one to two years,' said Ms Lui, adding that P&G owned about 300 brands worldwide. That aggressive strategy combined with the importance of the Greater China market means it needs new staff in the region. The new Hong Kong recruits are required in areas such as marketing, customer business development, product supply, finance, human resources and information technology. And the newcomers can expect to climb up the corporate ladder if they do a good job because P&G believes in promoting from within the company. A significant portion of its employees have worked their way up to senior positions and that is why the company looks for people starting their career or with little experience during its recruitment drives. The new hires are then given the opportunity to develop within the firm. P&G does not place so much stress on what or where a candidate studied, and it does not look for a specific type of personality. 'Personality or style does not matter to us. It doesn't matter whether you are shy or outgoing because both types could fit in with our jobs and culture,' Ms Lui said. But she added that the company did look for people who had integrity and loyalty, could work well in a team and were passionate about winning. 'We want people who are good leaders and team players, who can engage others and execute their vision and strategy well.' The company offers plenty of training and career opportunities for those whom it does welcome on board. For those in entry-level jobs, general training is provided on a corporate-wide level - this includes communication, leadership and presentation skills that would be applicable for any positions. Training in more technical skills is also available, but it is tailored around an individual's work. The format is a combination of classroom and on-the-job coaching by the employee's immediate supervisors. 'Training is ongoing and not just for those in junior positions. It goes right up to the general manager and president level,' Ms Lui said, adding that the ultimate aim was to cater for each individual's need by devising a career plan best suited to meeting his or her goals, interests and capabilities. Through annual assessments, which judge an individual's performance based on comments from supervisors, peers and subordinates, the company develops succession and career development plans for each staff member. This could involve changing a person's assignment, project, market, brand or even location, so that they are given the best chance to grow both professionally and personally. The success of this strategy is reflected in the company's relatively low staff turnover by industry standards - less than 10 per cent in recent years, according to Ms Lui. Many employees stay a long time because of the wide ranging challenges they are given throughout their career, whether that be a secondment to work in another country or working on different brands and markets. 'Based on my experience, P&G is good for people who are not only looking for a job, but also an environment that can fit in with their goals both professionally and as a person,' Ms Lui said. She compared the employee-employer relationship to a marriage, where company beliefs and values needed to gel with those of the worker for the relationship to work. moulding a career Priority on recruiting graduates or those with little experience. Less emphasis on personality or what/where you studied. Candidates need to have integrity, trust and team spirit, as well as leadership skills and a passion for winning. Comprehensive training is provided at all levels. Promotion from within is encouraged.