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Is there still hope of a good career or career change for someone in their late forties?
Broken Dream
posted on Tuesday, 12 July 2011 02:31

I am a 47 year old man working for a big company in Canada. I have 2 years of it experience in finance and over 20 years of experience in application development (mainframe COBOL). I have a degree in computer science and also CGA Level III (probably equivalent to ACCA Level II). 

I cannot believe I am doing so badly in my career. Most of the university graduates in my generation are successful in Hong Kong (management or senior management now). In Canada, there are no classes in the company and the structure is wrong too. Also, it is difficult for a Chinese to find a job or advance to management.

What can I do now? Do I still have a chance of a good career or career change in my late forties? If I come back to Hong Kong, will I find a job? What kind of jobs with a good career path is available for me in Hong Kong – if any? Am I too old for the Hong Kong job market? Also, I am open to any other career such as finance, accounting etc. Any possibilities in those sectors?

Lastly, one important question is:

Is it very difficult for people over 40 to find and keep a job in Hong Kong? Is it a common practice for Hong Kong companies to kick older people (over 40 years old) out?

Thanks for your help!

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Louisa Yeung - Career Doctor's picture
Louisa Yeung - Career Doctor  
Posted Thursday, 10 May 2012 03:38 PM


It is great that are you are taking a step back to review your career because there are always opportunities to develop and progress in your profession.

In Hong Kong, the retirement age is between 60 and 65 years so you have 10 to 15 years before you reach that stage. There is still time for you to work towards obtaining a management or senior level role. Remember, it’s always good to start with a positive attitude, whether you are considering a new job or a career change. This will be key to your success as employers often assess a candidates’ approach to professional development, as well as their skills in communication, team work, problem solving and decision-making.

These soft skills will complement your technical skill set. For employment in Hong Kong, I would suggest that you consider a senior position that combines your existing IT and finance expertise as there is currently a demand for professionals with these skills. Your CGA III qualification is also a benefit and it would be good to continually update your skills and knowledge in this profession. When you have done this you can conduct your job search through networking with other professionals in the industry, providing your CV to recruitment consultants and keeping an eye out for job advertisements for positions that interest you.

If you are seriously considering moving to Hong Kong for a role that can help you to progress your career, it is best to think about how feasible this would be. As you have already worked in Canada for a number of years, you are familiar with the culture and lifestyle there. In Hong Kong, employers also prefer employees to have been exposed to the country, as well as China. However, if you do decide to make the move, you will have the opportunity to develop your career, with your age being no barrier, because of the experience and specialist skill set you have.

If you would like further information or advice, please leave a comment below.

All the best,

Anonymous's picture
Broken Dream
Posted Sunday, 26 February 2012 09:18 AM

To DimSum and Not too old.

Thanks for your advice. It seems difficult for people in Hong Kong to find a job (after age 45, worse after 50) in any field. Wonder what one can do after losing one's job from age 50 to 60?

Anonymous's picture
Posted Friday, 29 July 2011 11:49 AM

Dear Broken Dream

There are some post on this site that indicate age is a problem in Hong Kong.

I understand your concern yet you at least work in a big company. Many people with the same problems with you are working in small company earning peanut.

Every person wants to have a great career, at least financial it will support you with a better life, and I would say this is important to a lot of people.

In Canada, at least you have great social welfare, cheaper groceries, better environment. In Hong Kong you don't have all these.

Try and think that you are earning your daily bread at least, whether you are happy or not is something you have to deal with after work. We have seen others who have been unemployed for 20 months etc. So, as I believe your concern is not the pay of your job but your ego. As I mentioned above, look at the bright side: you are earning your daily bread, I suppose you have money left to spend on things you are interested in, you will be protected by your country even if you lose your job. So, see your job is something (ie financial source) for you to achieve other goals (eg movies, DVDs, vacation). We can get a joyful life by many means and it is not necessarily your job.

Anonymous's picture
Not too old
Posted Tuesday, 26 July 2011 08:39 PM

I am a year older than you and I managed to find a job in the banking industry two months ago. I had the same thought as you have - will companies hire me because I am in my late forties already? My experience proves that it is not so. Your advantage is that you have a wealth of experience behind you. That should count for something. Why don't you apply some jobs in HK from Canada before you return? Many multinationals would conduct phone interviews if the applicants are of the right quality.

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