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A City for Green Talents to Grow

"Hong Kong is definitely a fast-paced city with plenty of opportunities, and a city of contrasts. If you are willing to hustle and work hard, you will be presented with opportunities for career advancement."

Ee Sin Tan
Partner, Climate Change and Sustainability Services (CCaSS),Hong Kong & Macau, EY

A short assignment turned into a stay of 11 years and counting for a finance professional from Singapore expanding his career in Hong Kong.

In 2011, when Ee Sin Tan was working in Singapore, he accepted an offer to work a brief stint in Hong Kong. “Just spending nine months in this vibrant city, I could see its prospects and what it has to offer. I was aware that I had barely scratched the surface during my short time here and wanted to extend my stay.” His professional and private life happily converged as his then-girlfriend (now wife), also a Singaporean, was also frequently staying in Hong Kong for work at the time. Now he works as an Assurance Partner for EY in Hong Kong, where he leads both the Climate Change and Sustainability Services (CCaSS) and Financial Accounting Advisory Services (FAAS) teams.

Career Opportunities to Promote a Greener Future

Tan considers Hong Kong a good destination for pursuing a career in ESG, thanks to the growth of the industry here. Measures taken by the HKSAR government to develop Hong Kong into an international green financial centre by promoting green and sustainable finance, as well as green transformation of the economy, continue to impress him. “With the rapid expansion of the green finance market and keen support from the government, the number of green and sustainability-linked financial products in the market has begun to grow exponentially.”

In today’s world, the war for talent in sustainability and ESG space is particularly fierce, but Tan believes that Hong Kong still stands out from neighbouring countries and regions for its unique advantages, including its proximity to Mainland China and opportunities for strategic cross-border collaborations. For example, companies in the Greater Bay Area can seize green finance opportunities in Hong Kong to meet the demand for green investment from corporates and programmes in Guangdong.

Tan suggests those interested in ESG diversify their skillsets by familiarizing themselves with other areas of expertise as well. “ESG is a very broad field requiring different areas of expertise and experience, such as ESG reporting, sustainable finance, carbon management and climate risks. For example, when it comes to sustainable finance, we will likely require talent with experience in finance. Apart from this, there are also other aspects such as scenario analysis and carbon management, which will require professionals from environmental science or engineering,” Tan explains. “It is a fast-changing industry. Everyone in this field will have to keep learning to stay on top of it and keep ourselves up to date.”

A City of Contrasts

As a Singaporean living in Hong Kong, Tan is sometimes asked to compare the two cities. “Perhaps the biggest difference is that Hong Kong is more of a city of contrasts. She has an urban jungle with mountain backdrops, and it’s easy to escape the hustle and bustle of the business districts to the country parks and enjoy a day of breathtaking coastal views and mountain trails. You can also find old buildings and dai pai dongs tucked between modern skyscrapers,” he says.

He happily embraces these contrasts, going from a formal suit and tie to the hiking trails in his leisure time, where he’s already completed the Big Four Trails (Hong Kong Trail, Lantau Trail, Wilson Trail and MacLehose Trail). As a self-professed foodie, he also enjoys hiking around the city to check out new places to eat out with his family and friends.

Fast facts:

  • Ee Sin Tan was born and raised in Singapore. He graduated from Nanyang Technological University with a bachelor’s degree in accountancy.
  • Tan moved to Hong Kong in 2011 and is currently leading the Climate Change and Sustainability Services and Financial Accounting Advisory Services teams for EY Hong Kong, which provide sustainability consulting and financial accounting advisory services.
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