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Prioritising work-life synergy: In pursuit of professional success and holistic well-being in Macau

For health sciences academics and spouses Chris Wong and Kaeling Tan, Macau provides opportunities to advance not only their careers but also their family life.

At the University of Macau, Assoc Prof Wong adeptly juggles teaching commitments with research focused on transcription gene regulation in fungi. This area of study holds promising potential for applications such as antifungal therapy and drug development.

In addition to her teaching responsibilities, Dr Tan serves as an operations manager at the faculty’s core facility, where she contributes to research initiatives and mentors students and research assistants.

Originally trained in research, Dr Tan did not have the opportunity to delve much into the education side of health sciences. Now, she designs and executes education programmes for post-graduates, undergraduates and occasionally even high school students. “I find satisfaction in staying current through research and nurturing the growth of the younger generation,” she shared.  

Today, Assoc Prof Wong and Dr Tan derive fulfilment from observing the swift development of Macau’s health sciences sector. Once pioneers at the university, they will soon be joined by peers from across the globe. The Macau government launched the Talent Recruitment System in July 2023 which invites exceptional professional talents to contribute their expertise and networks to the advancement of four key sectors: Health, technology, finance as well as culture and sports. 

The Talent Recruitment System comprises three categories. The High-end Talents Programme focuses on individuals with globally recognised achievements, skills or contributions, who can contribute to Macau’s long-term economic and social development. The Outstanding Talents Programme is designed for individuals possessing the experience and technical skills essential for facilitating Macau’s economic diversification. The Advanced Professionals Programme caters to individuals with expertise and skills identified as being in short supply within the four key sectors.

“A new hospital is set to be established at Cotai and the Macau University of Science and Technology has recently inaugurated a new medical school. With the increasing demand for doctors and professionals from diverse backgrounds to train students, there are flourishing prospects for talents in Macau,” said Assoc Prof Wong, who added that funding opportunities for health sciences professionals in Macau are ample as a result of the city’s robust economic performance.

In the dynamic landscape of Macau’s research arena, there remains untapped potential waiting to be explored. “The future holds much promise for translational research and applied medicine, and Macau is poised to witness a surge in the demand for expertise in these domains,” said Dr Tan. 

BALANCING WORK AND FAMILY WITH EASE

While the chance to contribute to the development of a new university faculty and the proximity to Singapore and Hong Kong were defining factors for Dr Tan and Assoc Prof Wong, the couple also found that Macau provides a well-balanced work-life environment, allowing them quality time with their three young children, all of whom were born in the city. 

Macau’s family-friendly policies include financial incentives such as a birth allowance and cash handout of 10,000 Macanese pataca (S$1,670), medical care subsidies, as well as a range of extracurricular and government-organised activities designed to encourage parent-child bonding. 

Furthermore, young residents in Macau benefit from 15 years of free education spanning early childhood education to high school, or tuition fee subsidies if they choose to enrol in schools that do not offer free education. Additionally, all students engaged in formal education are entitled to textbook allowances.

In 2020, the Macau government expanded its youth policy to encompass individuals aged 13 to 35, an extension from the previous age range of 13 to 29. Formulated through collaboration with the public, schools and civil society, the Macau Youth Policy 2021-2030 outlines action plans designed to cultivate youth, enhance their integration into regional and national development, and instil a heightened sense of responsibility.

Dr Tan appreciates Macau’s family-oriented ethos that promotes a harmonious work-life equilibrium. “Along with support from our parents, I can better manage my career and family responsibilities,” he said.

Assoc Prof Wong concurs, sharing: “I cherish the bandwidth to engage in meaningful conversations with my children. Our family enjoys plenty of leisurely time together in Macau, whether at home, purchasing groceries or visiting the park.”

Learn more about living and working in Macau.

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