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Australia or Hong Kong?
PETERCHAN
posted on Thursday, 20 October 2011 22:16
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I came to Australia when I was 19 and have lived here for about 12 years. I have a Bachelor Degree in Marketing, a Master Degree in Accounting and a Juris Doctor Degree. I will become a qualified lawyer in Dec this year (like a newly qualified lawyer without too much experience). I've worked in the public sector for about 6 years as an internal auditor. I work only 7.5 hrs a day and my colleagues are really nice. I earn about HK$35,000p/m after tax (tax is very heavy here) and if I continue to work in the public sector, my income is not going to go up much higher.

My parents are in HK and I really want to go back to look after them. 
However, I really don't know what I can do and how much I can expect to earn in HK.

All my experience is in gov and I do not have too much commercial or professional experience (only gov audit and you can imagine!).

Can somebody who has a similar experience give me some recommendations? I don't think I can get a graduate lawyer job in HK as it seems so difficult to get one there.

Or I should just get married and settle down here and have a simple life?

Cheers
 

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2 Comments
Stan Ho - Career Doctor's picture
Stan Ho - Career Doctor  
Posted Thursday, 08 December 2011 08:09 AM

Hong Kong versus Australia

Australia has been a domestic market on its own for bankers and lawyers. If you decide to stay in Australia, getting more Australia-specific banking knowledge and laws/regulations in the early stage of your commercial or professional career would be very important. However, such knowledge and experience would subject you to the volatility of the Australian single market.

Hong Kong however pictures a very different story. Most banks and law firms base their Asia headquarters in Hong Kong, and the bankers and lawyers have geographical coverage of North Asia (which includes China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and South Korea) or even the whole Asia ex-Japan (as Japan itself is also a domestic market). You will be exposed to a greater variety of capital markets and laws, and your wider exposure and knowledge could help insulating you from the volatility of any single market in Asia. Besides, Hong Kong based bankers and lawyers with regional coverage happen to travel more for pitching and execution, which in my opinion are more fun than just covering one single market. This is a key difference between Australia and Hong Kong you should be aware of.

Leveraging your various degrees

Why do you even consider a simple life 1) when you are only 31 years old and 2) after you have spent a lot of time (and money) to finish a BBA in marketing, a master degree in accounting and a JD degree? While your pure government audit experience could potentially narrow your initial career option in the private sector, you are still young and should have more flexibility to move into the private sector. Not many people have the diversified educational background similar to yours, and you should leverage these to apply for jobs in different sectors like banking, law firms and accounting etc.

Getting commercial and professional experience in Australia first

Given your circumstance, I would suggest you stay in Australia for the time being and apply for positions with firms which have good presence and brand names in both Australia and Hong Kong. These could include big four accounting firms, top banks like NAB and ANZ, top investment banks like Macquarie, and top law firms like Mallesons. Getting such top company names on your CV is crucial, and their regional presence will also help your future internal transfer to Hong Kong if necessary. Even if you apply for other Hong Kong based jobs in the future, it’s easier to pitch your credentials to your prospective employers if the Australian companies you work for are well known.

You should not just apply for the advertised posts – you should focus on leveraging your professor and alumni contacts from your various degree studies for job and key contact person referrals.

Anonymous's picture
Paul Fong
Posted Wednesday, 26 October 2011 05:38 PM

I think my case is better than yours. I have been in Australia about 3 years but I also can't find a job as of now as the interviwers said I have been away from Hong Kong. My comment is that you may need to take more than 6 months to get a job.

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