Many people come to Asia for travel, work or study. Some people, like me, extend their stay for longer than they anticipated. Other people come for work, or their partner’s work. Where I live, in Hong Kong, many people come to work in the banking industry, or are transferred from places such as Singapore or London. The education and hospitality industries also provide a lot of employment for those not originally from Hong Kong. However, many people I know ask, what can I do in Hong Kong for work? That is, if they are not enticed by the idea of teaching English or working in finance. Below is a list of different jobs, temporary, permanent or part time, that I have tried or would recommend whilst living in Asia.
Yes, believe it or not, many Asian companies like to employ models from overseas. I worked for a small clothing company modelling a couple of years ago. This was just for fun, however if you have experience then consider going to castings and developing your portfolio. I have seen magazines (Sai Kung Magazine, specifically) looking for fit models. They particularly wanted curvier ladies as their client made clothes for taller ladies in Europe.
Actor / Extra
While I haven’t personally acted, a colleague of mine starred on TVB as an extra. She played the part of a nurse, and got a bit of a following because of her appearance on the show. Another friend starred in an independent movie, created by students from the University of Hong Kong. Often these roles are not speaking parts, so fear not if your Cantonese is not up to scratch!
Many people, regardless of whether they work in education tutor in Hong Kong. You can find a tutor for everything, Mandarin, English, Latin, Flute, Drums, Piano, Maths, Drawing, Swimming, Running. If you are unable to find any tutoring gigs, there are many tutorial centres who employ part time tutors.
Ocean Park & Disneyland
Ocean park and Disneyland offer jobs for entertainers, characters, dancers, singers and promoters. Some employees of the American Disneyland may a chance to transfer to Hong Kong, and they are put up in apartments. Check their websites for casting calls. Tall people beware: A friend recently auditioned and was cut because of her height.
Nanny / Au pair
Hong Kong has a diverse culture, and many families are from overseas, looking for a foreign nanny. Several friends of mine make a nice wage as a nanny for a French family who want their children to practice English. This job is not limited to English speakers however, different families seek out different languages. Check out the websites below, or visit an agency.
Voice over artist/ language consultant
I have tried out for various voice over gigs, organised by my good friend. Sadly, I am yet to get one! Through my university I found a student conducting research on the British English accent. I volunteered an hour of my time to record sentences for her, at the Hong Kong Institute of Education.
These were going to be used with learners of English in perception test. I earned 50 HKD for this, but for me it was useful to gain insight for my own research. Many universities in Hong Kong conduct similar research, looking for Korean, Mandarin, Japanese and Spanish speakers.You are compensated, but these jobs are ad hoc, usually middle of December and the end of June.
Proofreader / copywriter
I have worked as a proofreader for a few startups, checking their online content and creating press releases. The pay was not outstanding, but once you develop your portfolio and contacts, you can ask for more. Many proofreading jobs pay per word, make sure you have agreed the price and signed a contract before you begin to work. Be wary of companies offering to pay you later and then disappearing.
If you have a friendly attitude, you may try promoting anything from clubs to perfume. Hong Kong Island is the best place to look for this kind of work, as you can see expats working in clubs, bars, perfume shops and even Hooters. A friend of mine was asked to promote a line of hair products in a expo, due to her “beautiful blonde hair”. She got her hair and makeup done, was provided food, and a small wage at the end. Not too bad. Some clubs and bars in China will pay foreigners to sit in the bar and drink. To draw in customers. Not sure how I feel about this.
Companies and restaurants that hail from Europe often bring in overseas talent to manage their Asian branches. If you visit a Gordon Ramsey restaurant, a top hotel, bars or even the Dutch Cheese company stall, you will see this. If you have experience waiting tables, or are looking to transfer, this is an option for you.
The joy of the internet age is that you can work remotely from anywhere. I had a friend who was from Russia, did business in America, lived in Hong Kong and opened a wine shop in China.A colleagues husband worked for a Canadian company, as a programmer whilst living in Hong Kong. My own brother has a game company in England, is working remotely whilst visiting a friend in Singapore. As long as you organise the correct visa, and have wifi, you can work remotely in Hong Kong.
I hope you found this post useful. Below are a list of websites that may be useful. Happy job hunting!