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Demand surges for key staff on HK sites
Benson Chao
update on Saturday, January 15, 2011
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Spurred by a reviving economy and an array of infrastructure projects, the construction and engineering job market in Hong Kong is showing promising growth.

Wilfred Chau Chung-yau, human resources manager at Chun Wo Construction and Engineering, attributes the surging demand to an increase in large government projects and the tightening of regulations.

As requirements for construction projects become stricter, there is a demand for safety officers, environmental officers and contracted labour officers, he says.

Chun Wo, which has 2,000 staff on its payroll, is involved in or planning construction and civil engineering projects with the government, developers and the MTR. It is looking to fill about 40 positions, including project managers, site agents, senior engineers, quantity surveyors, safety and environmental officers, building project co-ordinators, foremen and technical assistants, and apprentices.

According to Chau, candidates for senior roles, such as project managers and site agents, will require a degree in civil engineering, at least 15 years' experience and chartered membership with recognised engineering institutes. For building positions, such as senior project co-ordinators, candidates should be certified members of the Chartered Institute of Building with eight to 10 years of experience.

Meanwhile, the robust growth of the industry means fresh graduates can practically cherry-pick jobs. "Last year, most graduates had three to four job offers. The competition will be fiercer this year," Chau says, adding that compared with last year's graduates, those graduating this year can expect a 10 per cent increase in their starting salary.

Chun Wo will start recruiting graduate engineers and quantity surveyors on campus soon, and expects candidates to have a GPA of 3.0 or above and good interpersonal skills. The selection process will include several rounds of interviews, group discussions and presentations.

Chun Wo also attaches importance to nurturing staff for managerial positions. In 2002, the company launched its Elite Training Programme, giving trainees the opportunity to work in various departments and eventually specialise. The programme aims to help young professionals to become leaders.

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