Published in Hong Kong News on 21.08.2023
HK News: Restrictions on language proficiency hinder Hong Kong companies from attracting international talent
Hong Kong has been easing immigration rules left and right to attract more foreign workers into the city.
However, one problem — as pointed out by Mathew Gollop, managing director of Connected Group — is that some firms still fail to hire talent from overseas due to limiting factors such as language requirements.
“A candidate of mine took on a new role. His role is to look at talent as part of their diversity program and his first conversation with the talent function was to say, ‘Why do so many of our job descriptions have ‘must speak Cantonese?’ The response was: ‘We don’t know, that’s just what it says on the job description,’” Gollop told Hong Kong Business.
“Of course, many jobs in the local market will require Cantonese as a language but that’s a huge limiting factor when we know that the local talent market is decreasing. If we’re looking outside of that, then we’re going to have to be more flexible on some of these language requirements,” he said.
What the HR expert is telling companies is that the key to taking full advantage of Hong Kong’s easing of immigration restrictions is to look long and hard at their talent needs and reassess the “baked-in” expectations of what the fit looks like for a role.
“Organisations need to… look at what is the true demand,” Gollop said. “They need to revisit the HR framework, and maybe some pre-existing things that have become outdated in order to identify where we can hire people from outside, and they need to state that more explicitly.”
For Lancy Chui, senior vice president of Manpower Greater China, companies must also review their existing company culture and employee benefits to ensure that they remain competitive and attractive to foreign workers.
“Offering competitive compensation packages, career development opportunities, flexible working arrangements, and a positive company culture can help create an environment attractive to talent from all over the world,” Chui said in a separate interview with Hong Kong Business.
It is also important for companies to ensure that their recruitment practices “comply with relevant immigration, employment, and labour laws and regulations,” said Chui.
Full article at Hong Kong Business