Working in Hong Kong: Jobs Available for English Speakers

Hong Kong Cross Harbour Tunnel


Working in Hong Kong is many people's dream, but finding work in Hong Kong can be a nightmare. Not only do you have to have the requisite educational background, but you also have to prove that the job you’re doing can’t be done by a local. Being an English speaker remains an advantage but is not the golden ticket it once was—some locals can speak English, Cantonese, and Mandarin, and an ability to speak different languages is increasingly in demand, 

There are a number of specific jobs and industries that have traditionally provided employment for expats in Hong Kong. Once you've picked your job below, be sure to explore essential resources and contacts to take the next step. 

Banking and Finance Jobs in Hong Kong

Most expats in Hong Kong work in the banking and finance sector, however, almost all have been moved here on temporary contracts by their home office in New York, London, Paris etc. It is unlikely, although not impossible, that you will find work in Hong Kong’s banking and finance sector as an individual unless you have past experience with a certain bank or in the Asian financial sector.

Teaching Jobs in Hong Kong

One of the most popular forms of employment for English speakers in the city (with limited opportunities for French and German speakers). The educational and skills requirements for teaching English in Hong Kong are generally high compared with other countries. Hong Kong has a number of highly regarded international schools, where the sole language of instruction is English. That means there are openings not only for English teachers, but science, history, and other subject areas. Competition for jobs at these schools is fierce, and you will typically be required to have a Bachelors Degree, a professional teaching qualification and usually a year or two of teaching experience. On the upside, pay and conditions are generally excellent. 

TEFL Teaching Jobs in Hong Kong

Qualified teachers will also find opportunities in the city, although these can often be off the books and relatively poorly paid. The more experience you have, the better the school. There are many, many cowboy schools to look out for in Hong Kong. If you want to work legally and get an official visa, you will still need to have a degree in your suitcase.

Publishing and Media Jobs in Hong Kong

There are a number of both local and international publishing houses and media organizations based in Hong Kong. Hong Kong Magazine, Time Out and the South China Morning Post Magazine are all local magazines that regularly hire English speaking expats with relative experience. If you don’t have a background in journalism, it will be almost impossible to get hired. Internationally, many major magazines and news organizations maintain offices here. BBC Magazines, CNN, and VOA are three of the biggest.

Restaurant and Bar Jobs in Hong Kong

Once a staple of expat employment, the opportunities for bar and restaurant work, if you don’t have a Hong Kong ID Card, are dwindling. The exception is trained chefs and cooks, where there are good opportunities working at the city’s many western restaurants.

Hospitality Industry Jobs in Hong Kong

If you have a background in hotel hospitality work from manager to ​concierge, Hong Kong has excellent opportunities. The city is packed with international chains who seem to carte blanche to employ whoever they wish. Contracts are extremely lucrative.

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