Are you able to work with people from different cultures?


More and more businesses in Hong Kong are looking for bilingual candidates with an international mindset as the job market becomes more globalised, according to the 2013 Hays Asia Salary Guide.

“A recurring theme throughout this year’s Salary Guide is the need for candidates with not only multiple language skills but those who can fit in with a foreign-owned company as the trend of multinational corporations moving their offices to Asia continues,” says Marc Burrage, Regional Director of Hays in Hong Kong.

For example, helpdesk candidates are sought in the information technology sector in Hong Kong, but there is a particular demand for multi-lingual candidates who can support Chinese and English speaking staff.

There is also increased competition between foreign banks in Hong Kong, creating opportunities for bilingual candidates.

“Therefore, employers are interested in candidates that are interested in and able to adapt to different cultures as this will obviously help their businesses operate more effectively and more efficiently,” says Marc. There are also benefits for the candidate in that they will become more in-demand, leading to better job opportunities and career pathways.”

So, what’s your cross-cultural expertise (CCE) score?
Hays has devised a quick quiz for candidates to see if they’re meeting the cross-cultural expertise demands of today’s employers:

  1. Do you speak a second language or are you learning one?
  2. Have you ever worked in an environment where your mother tongue was not spoken?
  3. Have you worked abroad, learned about different cultures and are able to apply what you’ve learned to a new employer?
  4. Can you demonstrate your interest in and ability to adapt to a different culture?
  5. Can you demonstrate that you’re flexible and able to accommodate differences of opinion at work?
  6. Have you worked in an environment where pay was based on merit and performance?

You score one CCE point for every “yes”.
If your CCE score is less than 2
If you answered no to all of these questions, it’s time to rethink how you fit into today’s job market. If you want to be a candidate in demand and adapt to the increasing needs of employers you will need to at least learn another language which can be useful in a work situation. If you don’t have the opportunity to travel overseas, which is the best way to gain international experience, perhaps take a course and try to apply what you have learned at work, even if it is just showing interest in other cultures.

If your CCE score is 3 or 4
You are on your way to becoming an “in-demand” candidate with cross-cultural expertise – but you still have room for improvement. In another recent Hays survey employers were asked what traits contributed to a candidate’s global mindset. One of the top answers was the flexibility and ability to accommodate difference of opinion at work.

If your CCE score is 5 or more
You are a good example of a candidate with cross-cultural expertise and are more likely to have success in today’s highly competitive job market in your chosen field. But there is always room for improvement, so look at where you could extend yourself and your experience. Look at the questions where you may have answered ‘no’ and think about how you can turn it into a definite ‘yes’.

Source: Hays Hong Kong