Engineering Graduate Jobs and Management Trainee Programs in Hong Kong
Engineers apply scientific principles to the solving of real world problems. Their work is integral to nearly every industry – they are essential to the design and construction of buildings and roads, machinery, products, systems, software and many other innovations.
What do you need to know to get a job in engineering?
Areas of Engineering Study
Engineering is a very broad discipline, spanning many specialisations. Each university will offer a different combination of options. Some offer general Bachelor of Engineering degrees, with a selection of major and minor choices, while others offer a variety of specialised Bachelors, such as the Bachelor of Chemical Engineering.
Below is a list of some of the most common engineering specialisations, and their role in the real world.
- Civil Engineering
Civil engineers work where human ingenuity and need meets the natural world, designing, constructing and maintaining buildings and public infrastructure such as roads, waterways, dams, canals and bridges. Engineers in this field may work as “general civil engineers” or within one of the many sub-disciplines such as construction engineering, architectural engineering, and urban engineering, among others, and may work for the private and/or public sector. Civil engineering is closely connected to other engineering specialisations, such as materials science, geotechnical and structural engineering.
- Materials Science
Materials science is involved with the study of the makeup and characteristics of materials used in industry and construction, such as concrete, metals, polymers, carbon fibres and nanoparticles.
- Structural Engineering
Structural engineering is a discipline strongly allied with civil engineering, in that these engineers ensure that buildings and other built structures can hold up to the loads, stresses and forces acting upon them, so that they will be serviceable and safe for human use. There are sub-disciplines within this specialisation, such as wind and earthquake engineering (designing buildings such as skyscrapers to hold up under high winds and natural disaster).
- Environmental Engineering
Environmental engineering is a discipline that spans waste management, environmental remediation, pollution management, water purification, green technology and renewable energy. They are often called to consult other engineers (such as civil engineers) on the environmental consequences of their proposed actions.
- Mechanical Engineering
Mechanical engineers are involved in the design, production and operation of machinery. This discipline is one of the broadest in terms of its pervasive application to facets of everyday life and industry, and its numerous sub-disciplines, and it also overlaps with other engineering disciplines such as civil, electrical and chemical engineering. Mechanical engineers are essential to the creation of the machines used in manufacture and farming, as well as our transport systems and vehicles, equipment, tools, medical devices, military weapons and many of the products we use day-to-day.
- Electrical and Electronic Engineering
The discipline of electrical and electronic engineering focuses on the study, use and distribution of electricity to generate power for human use. This field has applications spanning the operation of machinery, electric light, heating and communications. Electronic engineering is a sub-field of electrical engineering that deals withcircuits with decision-making capability and small power sources, as opposed to the more powerful but less “intelligent” electrical systems. Sub-disciplines which may fall under electrical and electronic engineering include systems engineering, information engineering and power engineering.
- Mechatronic Engineering
Mechatronic engineering is a multi-disciplinary field which combines mechanical, electrical, electronic and computer engineering to design “smart” technologies such as robots, automotive systems and products in the internet of things. Into the future, it is highly likely that more and more engineering jobs will fall within such a multidisciplinary field.
- Chemical Engineering
Chemical engineering is also a multi-disciplinary engineering field which synthesises chemistry, physics, biology, mathematics and economics, applying these to the production, conversion, transformation, transportation and use of chemicals. Especially of interest are the processes that transform raw materials into usable chemicals for use in industry, fuel, medicines, cosmetics and food.
- Biological Engineering (Bioengineering)
Biological engineering applies biology and other sciences (such as chemistry, mathematics and physics) to problems of the life sciences, using the engineering methodology. Examples of applications and sub-disciplines include biomedical engineering, biological systems analysis and biomimetics.
- Software Engineering
Software engineering [ falls under the discipline of information technology (IT) ], although sometimes it can also be studied from an engineering perspective.
Engineering work experience, through a work placement or internship, is a valuable asset to an engineering student hoping to imminently enter the market, and is therefore recommended. Internships for mechanical engineering students are offered by companies such as car and aircraft manufacturers, while construction companies are a good place for civil engineering students to seek experience. Mining, oil and gas companies often offer engineering internships to students studying chemical engineering and materials science, while bio-engineering and environmental engineering students can look towards biotech, agricultural and health companies. Electrical engineering students can seek work at power plants, while electronic engineers and software engineering students can approachcomputer and networking-equipment companies.
In the Hong Kong engineering industry, the disciplines in greatest demand are civil and mechanical engineering, which are essential to construction and manufacture. The transport sector was particularly important in 2013, due to the construction of several major infrastructure projects such as the Hong Kong-Shenzhen Express Link. In addition to servicing the territory, Hong Kong’s construction engineers are successful in exporting their services to mainland China, as engineering consultants. There is also great demand for electronics and mechatronics engineers to construct complex equipment for export.
In the next few years, the engineering market in Hong Kong will continue to be influenced by the government’s infrastructure projects, which will mean that civil and structural engineers will continue to be in heavy demand to construct roads, railway extensions and buildings. Government investment into renewable energy and green building, resulting from an increased global environmental consciousness, means that environmental engineers are important as never before. In mainland China urbanisation drives demand for new roads and living spaces and Hong Kong engineers find ample work, not only civil engineers, but also electrical and mechanical engineers. Hong Kong companies are also major investors in other rapidly developing Asian countries, such as India and Indonesia, in fields such as power generation, water sanitation and infrastructure.
Engineering Salary Averages
Entry level engineering jobs in Hong Kong are quite well-paid, which is emblematic of the demand for such professionals in the economy. According to Payscale, entry-level civil engineers can earn between HK$158 000 and HK$209 000, or even more, depending on the company. The median salary for general engineering services is HK$180 000. Salaries sharply rise with years’ experience, and within four years an engineer may be earning upwards of HK$350 000.
In addition to high salary and low tax rates, Hong Kong engineers receive many benefits, which may include travel (especially if one works for an engineering consultancy firm), training, support, sponsorship to apply for chartered status and more.