Specialist advice is in demand in the areas of environment, health, safety and risk consulting, with governments and businesses accepting the need to tighten standards and minimise their impact on the natural world.
As a result, Environmental Resources Management (ERM), a leader in the field, is expanding and gearing up for a significant increase in headcount.
"Like a lot of businesses, we were quite careful last year, growing at a slower rate, but we are now back in a more aggressive mode," says Dr Andrew Jackson, ERM's managing director in Hong Kong. "We are looking to take on about 30 people in the region within the next six months, with 10 to be based in Hong Kong."
With a global reach, the firm divides itself into five main practices. Of these, two focus on impact assessment planning - for example, permitting green field sites for power station construction - and issues of sustainability and climate change. The others concentrate on environmental health and safety performance assurance in business operations; managing contaminated land and cleaning up polluted sites; and transaction services, involving due diligence for trade deals and corporate buyouts.
"Sectors we work for include oil, gas, petrochemicals, mining, power and government," Jackson says. "Our staff get to work on some fascinating projects all over the world and, as the business changes, it means there are always interesting new opportunities."
The firm predominantly hires scientists and engineers, but there are also openings for people in economics or other disciplines, such as archaeology and landscape architecture. Typically, recruits in Hong Kong have two degrees, one of them earned overseas, and they need good language skills. They should also be adept at problem solving and have an entrepreneurial approach.
"We encourage staff to go out and develop business from an early stage of their career," Jackson says. "There is a real mixture of people, and each business unit looks for people who are a `perfect fit' at different levels of the organisation."
He notes that this is not easy, especially when looking for strategic hires, with experience in areas such as marine sciences or urban infrastructure. The firm offers a competitive salary package.
- There are about 10 openings in Hong Kong and further opportunities around the region
- Consultancy roles for scientists and engineers with strong academic and professional qualifications
- Firm offers support for further education and will soon launch an online academy