My move to Hong Kong
Oliver Allcock joined Robert Walters in November 2009 as a consultant in the London office and was promoted to senior consultant one year later.
He made the move from London to Hong Kong in January 2012 and has been managing the legal & compliance team there since October 2013. He discusses how the company supported his move and what he enjoys aout life in our Hong Kong office.
Why did you decide to move internationally?
"Being 26 and with no major ties in the UK, I thought it was a good time to make a move abroad. I’d always enjoyed travelling and thought it would be a great opportunity to see the world while working at the same time.
What interested you about Hong Kong?
I felt that Hong Kong could offer me a completely different experience to the Western world, albeit with some familiarity due to its British ties. My great grandparents had lived in the city about a century ago so it was a good chance for me to retrace family footsteps. I also knew it would be a good opportunity for me to develop my career. Hong Kong is a gateway to China for international investors, which makes it an attractive place to be. The combination of low taxes, a growing economy and candidates who tend to move every two to three years makes it a recruiter’s dream.
How did the company support your move?
The whole process took around four months from when I’d made my interest known and a position became available. Once the interviews began, things moved very quickly and the company made the whole process surprisingly easy. I also took some time off to travel in between which was great.
What is the best thing about living in Hong Kong?
You can fit so much into one day in Hong Kong. I walk to the office in 10 minutes and sometimes go wakeboarding before work or hiking in the country parks afterwards. During the weekends there are endless things to do. I enjoy sailing and barbeques, but there are many other things you can do here and both the expat and local communities are very quick to get you involved.
In town there are lots of rooftop bars, a lively music scene and endless restaurants. When I first arrived I was trying everything China could throw at me, from chicken’s feet to ‘100 year old eggs’, but my preference now is Sichuan (very spicy) or Shanghainese dumplings. There is also the cheapest Michelin-starred restaurant in the world near the office - about £6 for a feast of dim sum.
What is the Hong Kong office like?
There are around 100 people in the office. It has the typical fun and energetic atmosphere of Robert Walters, but is also small enough that you know pretty much everyone. We have people from all over the world and a good mix of nationalities.
What advice would you give to someone considering a move overseas?
Getting out of your comfort zone to live and work within a whole new culture really is a life changing experience. What I thought would be a shorter move for me has become permanent, and I would do it again in an instant.
If you’re considering a move to Hong Kong, be aware that it is not for the faint-hearted. Hong Kong is a very fast-paced and busy city but if you like an active life with lots of new challenges I couldn’t recommend it enough."
Hong Kong is a very fast-paced and busy city but if you like an active life with lots of new challenges I couldn’t recommend it enough
Inspired by Oliver's story? Find out how Nick Louca made the move from Australia to New York.
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