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Hong Kong, China

January 12 - 14, 2018

Drake, Dr. Barry

Fair Organizer:
Dr. Barry Drake

January 12 - 14, 2018


Fair Organizer: Dr. Barry Drake

The Hong Kong-January Fair is organized by Barry and Veronica Drake, both 30+ year international school 'veterans!' Hong Kong offers, both candidates and recruiters, a distinctly unique recruiting opportunity.



Whether you are a recruiter or a candidate you have an abundance of recruitment fair choices available to you. So what's different about the Hong Kong Fair?

The large Fairs have many advantages, but not everyone is comfortable with the prevailing competitiveness at such Fairs. The Hong Kong Fair aims to develop a more intimate sense of 'family' and connectivity than the larger Fairs. To this end, the Fair is held in a school in Hong Kong, rather than a large hotel; the number of schools attending the Fair will remain capped at 50-60 of the best institutions invited from the broader Asia region; ALL candidates who attend the Fair are fully focused on securing a job in Asia; and a significant number of Chinese teachers attend the Fair.

Moreover, the Hong Kong Fair is held over a weekend which means that for both recruiters and candidates very little, if any, time needs to be taken away from school (see the recruiter and candidate specific schedules on the HK Fairs page of the Search Associates Fairs web site).



Typical regional distribution of schools registered for the Hong Kong Fair as a percentage of the total.

The Hong Kong Fair was originally established primarily to help fill teaching vacancies in the China-Hong Kong-Taiwan region. However, in recent times increasing numbers of the schools registering for the Fair have been located in the broader Asian region.


Definitely not!!!

Typical distribution of candidates by national origins attending the HK Fair.Around 20% of the registered teachers each year are of Chinese ethnicity making this THE fair to locate Mandarin teachers.


Not at all!!!

The vast majority of candidates attending the HK fair have previous IB or other international curriculum experience with over 50% normally having worked for more than 10 years in international schools.


Not at all!!

Typical distribution of Hong Kong fair placements.

The evidence of our annual Fair placements does not support the commonly expressed view that the candidates at the Hong Kong Fair are not really interested in jobs outside of the city.

The factual evidence is that mainland China is usually the more popular destination for candidates at the Hong Kong fair with a growing interest in openings elsewhere in Asia.

Information For Candidates


contact Barry Drake for more information. Email:bdrake@searchassociates.com

Who are Search Associates?

We are the biggest international teacher recruiting company world wide. Please see this page for more details.

Search Associates (Hong Kong): how we can help you find a job in an international school.

How does the Hong Kong job fair work?

For general explanations of how our Fairs work please see this FAQs page

For specific details of how the Hong Kong Fair works please take a few minutes to view the video below.

Are there any membership fees?

Please see the Search Associates candidates frequently asked questions located here

Why choose to attend the Hong Kong fair?

Which Fair to attend is very broad question and the answer, is unsurprisingly, that it really depends on the candidate's needs. Many candidates will be interested in the January London, Bangkok or Cambridge Fairs. These are amongst the largest we operate. This means there are more schools, and more positions in total, available at these Fairs. However, it also means more intense competition from a much larger pool of candidates. Some people find the atmosphere of large Fairs daunting and somewhat intimidating. Others thrive on the competition! The bigger Fairs tend to attract schools from all over the world whereas other Fairs like Dubai, Melbourne, Toronto and Hong Kong are more regionally specialized. Some schools will attend a number of Fairs, others will recruit at only one Fair. Which schools attend which Fairs tends also to change, to some extent, on a yearly basis.

If a candidate has a strong preference for working in a particular geographical region of the world, then they should consider registering for registering for a regionally specific Fair. So, if you are interested in working in China/Hong Kong/Taiwan or East and S.E. Asia, then they should certainly consider attending the Hong Kong Fair.

What can I expect from the Hong Kong Fair?

The Hong Kong Fair aims to develop an intimate sense of 'family' and connectivity. To this end the number of schools attending the Fair is capped at 50-60 of the very best institutions invited from the region.
The Hong Kong Fair is designed primarily to help fill teaching vacancies in the China-Hong Kong-Taiwan region. To this end the majority of schools attending the Hong Kong Fair are usually located in China, Hong Kong or Taiwan. However, up to 25% of the schools attending the Fair are generally drawn from the broader Asian region. As a result the Fair attracts top teachers from around the world who are specifically looking for positions in highly regarded international schools in the China- broader Asia region.

The recent demographics of the HK Fair were as follows



The vast majority of candidates attending the HK Fair have IB or other international curriculum experience with over 50% having more than 10 years international school experience.
68% of the candidates attending the Fair came from outside Hong Kong.
Hires: Between 30 and 40% of all candidates attending the Hong Kong Fair are regularly hired as a result of the interviews they have at the Fair. Typically around 50-60% of all hires made as a result of the Hong Kong fair are in schools on the mainland and Taiwan, 25% in HK schools and 15-20% in other Asian schools.

What sorts of organizational structures can I expect from international schools in the China-HK-Taiwan region?

It is important for candidates to note that there is no single organizational model for international schools, even amongst those registered with SA.

In the past international schools could be characterized as, small-family-orientated, non-profit making institutions, catering to a largely transient expatriate population, with children from many parts of the world who were taught largely by expatriate international teachers. The curriculum was usually based on a national model: Australian, British, Canadian, US etc. Though some of these schools still exist they are very much in a minority today. The more common model today is a much larger school, increasingly part of a 'group' of schools / educational consortium. The majority of the newer breed of international schools are entrepreneurial and profit making, the children drawn from the middle classes of the country in which the school is based with a greater proportion of national teachers. There are still schools teaching to a home national curriculum such as IGCSE / A levels or AP but increasingly the market is dominated by the IB programmes. The bottom line is that there is no single model or, indeed, any agreed right or wrong way to structure an international school. Candidates need to be very clear about the sort of school they are thinking of moving to. Questions need to be asked about their own genuine sense of flexibility: can I adjust to different ways of allocating classes / preps to that which I am used to? Will I be happy with a more top down approach to management rather than the participatory decision making I am used to? Am I excited about working in a very d ifferent organizational culture more reflective of the country I am about to move to etc. The candidate's Associate is there to advise on such issues.

For more information regarding the changing international school scene in China/Hong Kong see this linked article

What sort of schools recruit at the Hong Kong fair?

It is important to note that the growth of the international school market is exponential and each year we are seeing a considerable number of new schools coming 'on line' and looking to recruit teaching staff. There is, naturally, a very wide quality spectrum of schools available for candidates to consider and making decisions to accept a contract at a relatively unknown school is fraught with challenges. Search Associates (HK) can help candidates chart their way through this vital exercise in a number of ways.

Firstly, Search Associates (HK) does not accept all schools which request places at the Hong Kong fair. Schools attending the HK fair have to be first of all registered with Search Associates. Roughly 10% of all schools listing themselves as providing international education, world wide, are currently registered with Search Associates. This is the product of clear policy by our company to work with a certain types of schools. Each applicant school has to undertake a rigorous process of screening before it is accepted. Only schools from the better end of the quality spectrum are accepted. School performance is then regularly monitored and interventions made when concerns are raised about unacceptable practice. As a registered candidate at the HK Fair you can expect specific advice regarding schools which are of interest to you.

Is there a clear profile of candidates who are successful in getting placements at the HK Fair?

Once again this is a very difficult question as there are always exceptions to the rule especially in shortage subject areas / fields such as IBDP physics, maths, counselors etc. However, our experience over the last few years would suggest certain types of candidates have more chance of success. Please see this FAQs page for more details.

What will I get from registering with Barry Drake?

See also my biography page
40 years of international education experience incorporating time in Central Africa, the Middle East, South East and East Asia. Barry has an outstanding network of contacts in the schools in Asia and he will be able to offer his candidates a very personalized service which will seek to help candidates get placements at schools which are a good fit for them.
Part of the service provided by Search Associates is to advise candidates on the relative merits, qualities and challenges offered by particular schools.
For personal references, see this link

Specific advice can be provided to registered candidates on

  • personal bios
  • communication with Heads
  • interview tactics
  • approaches to package comparisons

and more!

Recruitment Fair Comments

"Thank you to Search Associates for the professional services and assistance with our job search. We are very happy with the opportunity to join Hangzhou International school, and very pleased that they were searching for 'veterans' who could add depth to their expanding school." - Marisa Confait (2017)
"Search Associates has proven to be an essential tool for upgrading my career." - Luigi Mondino (2017)
"Just wanted to let you know I've accepted a job at OCAS. I had a great experience with Search Associates and the HK job fair was fantastic. I had eleven schools interview me and 5 offers." - Ryan Tannenbaum (2017)
"Once again I would like to take the time to thank you for organizing the fair and offering your guidance. I have already signed my contract and just deactivated my account.  I hope this will be an exciting experience for me professionally and a good choice for my family. It looks very promising!" - Emilija Simonovska Stojanovski (2017)
"I'd like to thank you for all the work you do in setting up these fair opportunities for us all. I'm glad I decided to come to the fair this weekend. It was fairly laid back and very positive. It was run efficiently and everyone I was in contact with was very professional, from associates to recruiters to candidates. I will surely recommend Search to other teachers and use you all if I'm job hunting again in the future. The hope is that it won't be for a long time! May Thanks." - Nick Staffa (2017)
"The school board were delighted with the service we received from Search Associates and particularly, the lead consultant, Barry Drake. Throughout the three months of the search for a new Head for UWC Thailand, out interactions were timely and extremely professional, aimed at providing the maximum possible support for the board Selection Committee. We would certainly use them again for a similar assignment." - Julian Whitely (2016)
"I would very much like to thank Search and Barry in particular for the support and guidance with the Search process. Placement via Search provides a level of confidence and assurance for both the applicant and school. I have really enjoyed the daily update emails and will rather miss them, seeing what the big wide world has to offer is a lovely way to start each day." - Ed Aldiss (2016)
"We are really impressed with the quality of the people and schools attending the Search Associates Job Fair. We had many interviews and all went well. When we got home, we had an offer from a school we really loved and ended up accepting it a couple of days later. Thank you Search Associates for helping us connect to so many great educators in such a short time." - Andrew and Danielle Aversen (2016)
"Thank you for organizing such a great job fair for everyone!  I am very excited for the opportunity to teach at Shanghai United!" - Adam Burgetz (2016)
"I found Barry extremely helpful and very easy to work with.  He made himself constantly available via email and skype and to visit Malta when needed.  His insights and wise council were invaluable." -Roy Crawford. Head Search for IS Verdala, Malta (2015)
"Having unexpectedly lost my job at the end of June, I came to terms with having to find an unsatisfactory one for a year and use that time to work on my Search Associates profile and prepare for a job fair in winter. However, I managed to get my profile activated in early August. Five days later I got a job that I have thoroughly enjoyed so far. Things happened when I least expected and life started to look up, thanks to my Barry’s prompt assistance and support." - Bojan Stevin (2014)
"Thanks to Dr. Drake for responding promptly to my emails. Using the Search Associates website has made the process of finding a new job less stressful. I appreciate that profiles are stored in the Search database, allowing for easy reactivation. I will be sure to sign up again the next time I am ready to search for a new position." - Ya Yun Su (2014)
"Thanks to Barry, as well as Nick, Paula, Michael, and the rest of the Search staff. Daniela and I are really excited about GEMS Singapore. It's going to be fabulous and we're deeply grateful for the placement. Thanks again for everything." - Chris Brandt (2014)
"I would like to offer a heartfelt and sincere word of thanks to Barry for his assistance in making the  move to my next position. I am relatively new to the world of international education and found Barry's words of support and encouragement to be invaluable. Barry's insight and knowledge of international schools spanned many continents, and with his guidance, I have been able to secure a position at one of the top schools in Hong Kong." - Mary Mallon (2013)
"I want to thank Barry for organizing the job fair and setting a constructive and positive environment at the fair. I feel there was a job balance between possible positions and candidates, and recruiters were fair, open and transparent with their interactions with candidates. Both candidates and recruiters were supportive and friendly with each other. I know job fairs can be a nerve racking and stressful experience, but I feel the way Barry and his team organized and managed the fair made for a more positive experience. Also, I want to thank Barry for his detailed and sage advice on the Hong Kong job market and living in Hong Kong. His advice was balanced, insightful, informed and realistic." - Michael Steele (2013)
"Barry was a patient and very well-informed mentor. No question was too trivial or too difficult. He made the process easy and seamless. His advice was always relevant, thoughtful and insightful. I can't thank him enough for his help and encouragement. I secured a wonderful job and Search, and in particular, Barry, provided a comprehensive, friendly and professional service. I wouldn't hesitate to use them again." - Marian Rossiter (2012)
"Having notified me of a suitable opening, Barry greatly supported my successful application to secure a position as a Secondary Vice-Principal for the 2012-13 academic year. The process was smooth, efficient and professional throughout and I sincerely appreciated Barry’s personal and genuine interest in my application. Barry’s long years of experience as a senior leader in international schools give him the insight to see a ‘good fit’ and I recommend him highly to candidates seeking help to further their careers. Thanks again for everything Barry!" - Tim Fryer (2012)
"I had such a positive experience with Search Associates right from the very beginning that I would highly recommend Search. I didn't really know what to expect since I haven't used any recruiting agencies in the past. My associate, Dr. Barry Drake was attentive to my concerns and questions. He always replied quickly to my emails. The Bangkok Spring Fair was organized, and the associates there were helpful as well. Barry Drake even mentioned my name to one of the school representatives at the fair. I ended up getting two job offers, and I exchanged emails with other teachers there who were supportive and friendly. A couple of teachers even recommended their schools. Since there were only 22 schools there, I can imagine it wasn't as cut-throat and super competitive as the bigger Bangkok fair. Overall, I'm really pleased with Search Associates. I would definitely use them again in the future. I'm especially impressed with my associate's personal attentiveness and prompt replies." - Kim Soriano (2012)
"I joined Search on a whim and didn't know what to expect. I have been more than satisfied with the results. With Barry's guidance, I was offered positions at two of HK's top schools. With his help I decided on one and love it. His personal attention to detail and getting to know me was key in matching me with particular schools." -Bonnie Lim (2011)
"I have been a successful applicant of Search Associates on three occasions. The application process provided an opportunity for prospective employers to fully see my potential on paper and in person at the search fairs. Search Associates then provided support and professional advice from the beginning through to the end of the process. A big thanks to Search Associates for helping me achieve my ambitions. " - Carla Nagel (2011)

Did You Know…?

Senior Associate Ray Sparks's over 30-year career as an educator has involved working in Canada, Europe, and Asia.