Majority of Hong Kong employers keen on hiring overseas returnees, citing ‘language and communication skills’ a key advantage


A clear majority of employers in Hong Kong are eager to employ an overseas returnee in the coming year, and they cite ‘language and communication skills’ to be the top benefit that returnee talent can bring to the table.

The 2019 Hays Overseas Returnee Report, which highlights overseas returnee recruiting trends based on responses from both candidates and employers residing in China, Hong Kong SAR, Japan, Malaysia, and Singapore.

They were also asked about the benefits local returnees could bring to their organisation. While 69 per cent voted ‘language and communication skills’, this was followed closely by 66 per cent who said ‘cross-cultural awareness’ and 55 per cent who said ‘overseas commercial experience’ were key advantages of having overseas returnees in their workforce.

Positive perception of overseas returnees

The global recruitment firm reveals that the high confidence in overseas returnee talent is not unfounded. Many employers report to have had a good experience with their overseas returnee staff and would, in fact, play advocate for hiring skilled candidates who have worked or studied abroad.

Nine in ten employers willing to recommend employing an overseas returnee to their peers.


Commenting on the findings, Dean Stallard, Managing Director at Hays Greater Bay Area says, “Overseas returnees are in a good position to highlight their experiences whether in working or studying abroad. In particular, they could stand to benefit from displaying how their language and communication skills would help improve existing business processes and how they translate into business value. Many firms hold in high regard the international experience and local cultural understanding that overseas returnees can offer in the country’s globalised economy.”

Across Asia

Overall, eight in ten hiring managers across the region are keen on employing overseas returnees. The keenest employers were Hong Kong (88 per cent) and China (87 per cent), while the least keen were Japanese employers (67 per cent).

Hiring managers were also asked if they would recommend peers within their industry to hire local returnees. Nine in ten (90 per cent) said a resounding ‘yes’, with Hong Kong being the most likely to do so (94 per cent), and Japan the least likely (84 per cent).

Request your free copy of the 2019 Hays Asia Overseas Returnees Report here.

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About Hays

Hays plc (the "Group") is a leading global professional recruiting group. The Group is the expert at recruiting qualified, professional and skilled people worldwide, being the market leader in the UK and Asia Pacific and one of the market leaders in Continental Europe and Latin America. The Group operates across the private and public sectors, dealing in permanent positions, contract roles and temporary assignments. As at 31 December 2018 the Group employed 11,700 staff operating from 262 offices in 34 locations across 20 specialisms. For the year ended 30 June 2018:
– the Group reported net fees of £1.072 billion and operating profit (pre-exceptional items) of £243.4 million;
– the Group placed around 77,000 candidates into permanent jobs and around 244,000 people into temporary assignments;
– 19% of Group net fees were generated in Australia & New Zealand, 26% in Germany, 24% in United Kingdom & Ireland and 31% in Rest of World (RoW);
– the temporary placement business represented 58% of net fees and the permanent placement business represented 42% of net fees;
– Hays operates in the following locations: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Chile, China, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Hong Kong SAR, Hungary, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, UAE, the UK and the USA