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Working Overseas: what’s it like to work for Oliver James Associates Hong Kong?

09 May 2016


Q&A: Alvin Leong, Senior Consultant, Risk & Compliance

Alvin joined Oliver James Associates Hong Kong one year ago as a Consultant for the Risk & Compliance desk. He was promoted from consultant to senior consultant in March 2016.

What motivated you to seek employment overseas?

My motivation to work in Hong Kong stemmed from the breadth of business opportunities within the market here and the sheer exposure you receive. I was also driven by working in a competitive environment and knew that working here would offer a more challenging working life.

What attracted you to Hong Kong in particular?

I was definitely attracted to the wider industry exposure and vast business opportunities. Hong Kong offers such a diverse working culture and environment where you meet multiple challenges on a daily basis; that’s all part of the great appeal of working here.

How did you come across your role at Oliver James Associates?

I actually came across my role through a rec to rec agency (in other words, a recruitment agency for the recruitment industry!). The nature of the role seemed to suit my career aspirations and personal nature so I pursued the opportunity.

What were the main challenges you faced when moving to Hong Kong?

As it’s my first relocation for work from Singapore, there were the obvious challenges of finding somewhere to live, meeting new friends and adapting to the new working culture. The working hours in Hong Kong are more stretched compared to Singapore, but the working culture is more rewarding with greater exposure to business opportunities and career progression.

What were the main differences you found working in Hong Kong compared to Singapore?

Be prepared for longer working hours; you will most probably never start and finish when you’re contracted to. That’s the business culture though; hard working, driven and conscientious. If you’re determined to succeed and deliver tangible results, the longer hours are worth it. Alongside the extended hours, it’s a much faster pace of life in general with constant change.

How can people considering a move to Hong Kong familiarise themselves with the working culture in Asia to ensure they’re prepared when interviewing?

Personally, I feel it’s important to have the right attitude. Be open minded, flexible and adaptable; expect the unexpected. The way in which people work in Asia is very different to other countries, from the longer hours as mentioned previously to the pace of change, so it’s incredibly important to mentally prepare yourself. It’s a fantastic business environment though and a great fit for people who are ambitious and unafraid of a challenge.

What’s the best thing about working for Oliver James Associates Hong Kong?

I’d say the working culture is the best thing about working for Oliver James. It’s a young, vibrant and driven working culture where we all share the same goals and work together to achieve these. The team managers and directors are extremely approachable and care about shaping your career. It’s fantastic to learn first-hand from the senior leadership team who always guide us by OJ’s DNA, heritage and spirit. What’s more, the friendly and open minded nature of the office environment makes it a wonderfully rewarding place to work.

How did you find settling in to Oliver James Associates?

Everyone here is so welcoming, kind and friendly; it’s a great company to work for where people are open to offering support and advice both on a professional and personal level.

What’s the Oliver James culture like?

It’s certainly a work hard play hard culture. We’re all focused and driven to deliver excellence and succeed. Although we work in competitive markets, everyone works together like one big family. If you have any issues at all, a Senior Consultant will always offer help no matter which team or division you sit within.

What are the key attributes and skills someone would need to work for Oliver James Hong Kong?

They need to share the same drive and passion. It’s so important to have a sense of urgency, be hardworking and competitive in nature. Flexibility and adaptability are also key as changes and challenges can be a frequent part of daily life within recruitment.

Do you have any advice for recruitment professionals who may be considering an overseas move?

Go for it! It’s an incredible opportunity to experience a new culture and different way of working. Make sure you do sufficient research to support your decision and rationale for moving; from reading up on the culture, working life and opportunities available. If you have any friends, acquaintances or contacts in Asia, speak to them and get a better understanding of what the experience may be like. Above all, be open minded, expect the unexpected and enjoy it!

Are you interested in a rewarding recruitment career with Oliver James Associates Hong Kong?

If so, please contact Jessica Schwier, Head of Internal Recruitment at Oliver James Associates, on +44 (0)161 8307836 /

Visit for further information about Oliver James and to view our current opportunities.



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