Special Report - Greater Bay Area

Greater Bay Area project opens the door to exciting career opportunities in the region

Growth in existing positions and the opening up of new career paths will benefit young people in Hong Kong, Macau and southern mainland China, who will be better positioned to fulfil their dreams

PUBLISHED : Monday, 28 May, 2018, 9:17am
UPDATED : Monday, 28 May, 2018, 9:17am

The road to workplace mobility helped by economic cooperation in the Greater Bay Area (GBA) opens up exciting opportunities for career progression, according to Dean Stallard, managing director of Hays Hong Kong and south China.

Hong Kong’s status as an international financial centre and offshore renminbi hub is already driving demand for financial services across the border, where local authorities say they hope to attract 650,000 professionals to work in Qianhai, Shenzhen, alone.

In addition to new roles being created, Stallard sees growth in existing positions – particularly for relationship managers within the corporate and commercial banks.

“Some of our best clients in Hong Kong have been asking for candidates from Hong Kong to move to Shenzhen and other parts of Guangdong, and vice versa,” he says. For these positions, multilingual candidates – ideally those with proficiency in Cantonese, Mandarin and English – are at an advantage, Stallard says.

Some of our best clients in Hong Kong have been asking for candidates from Hong Kong to move to Shenzhen and other parts of Guangdong
Dean Stallard, Hays Hong Kong and South China

With the GBA set to become a technology hub, Hays is also seeing new positions being created for data scientists, cloud architects and blockchain specialists, as well as expanding roles for designers engaged in the research and development of innovative technologies – such as user experience, user interface and solutions engineers.

Another area of job growth is the logistics sector, which KPMG and Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce cite alongside financial services and technology as the sectors most likely to benefit from the GBA initiative. Shenzhen welcomes Hong Kong talents in the creative industries, too. Wang Weizhong, secretary of the Communist Party of China Shenzhen Municipal Committee, told a delegation from Hong Kong business community last November that creative industries have become an economic pillar of Shenzhen in recent years, accounting for nearly 10 per cent of the city’s GDP – 200 billion yuan (HK$246 billion) in 2016.

Wang added that cross-border collaboration being fostered under the GBA would enable Hong Kong-based creatives in design, moviemaking and other fields to show their talent on a bigger stage.

Meanwhile, Macau remains the place to head to for employment opportunities in the gaming and tourism sectors.

Tom Ashworth, principal of Sniper Capital, a property investment fund manager, believes the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau bridge will be “a game-changer” in terms of regional connectivity, enabling the growth of tourism and the MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions) industry in Macau. This will have a knock-on effect on gaming, food and beverage, and other segments, leading to “increased demand for labour,” he says.

Sands China, which operates Sands Macao, The Venetian Macao, The Plaza Macao, Sands Cotai Central and partner hotels including Four Seasons, Conrad Macao, Holiday Inn Macao Cotai Central and Sheraton Macao, is indicative of the diversified job opportunities available in Macau. “With so many different facets of businesses under one roof, our integrated resort model allows us to offer numerous career opportunities for young talents to realise their potential and gain more work experience,” says Hongyan Wen, senior vice-president human resources, Sands China.

According to Stallard, exciting career opportunities, good earnings potential and a vibrant lifestyle are on offer for those willing to broaden their horizons in the GBA, a region of strong projected economic growth.

“Shenzhen is aiming to become the ‘Silicon Valley of China’, so if you’re in the tech sector, you will potentially be exposed to the latest cutting-edge technologies that may not even have hit the market,” he says. “This is going to strengthen your career development and put you ahead of others who are not working in this type of innovative environment.”

In terms of workforce mobility, Stallard asserts that transport infrastructure will facilitate a free flow of talent throughout the GBA region.

For that to happen, border controls need to be relaxed – as the EU has done – and issues like taxation addressed. Already, Hong Kong and Macau residents are exempt from work permits in Qianhai, and taxation incentives are being offered to attract foreign talents. Stallard cites Tencent CEO Pony Ma’s proposed electronic identification for residents in the GBA as a step in that direction.

“That’s when the Greater Bay Area becomes the megacity everyone is talking about ... ” he says.