Thanks to globalization and economic growth, the opportunities for foreigners desiring to work in China have increased significantly in the last few years. In 1996, there were only 180,000 foreign workers registered in China, but the number is rapidly growing since there are so many careers in China for foreigners today. For some time now, teaching English has been one of the main job areas for foreigners in China, but lately, there has been a growing demand for expatriates with skills in engineering, sales, management and so much more. Most of the jobs are offered by foreign-invested enterprises or international firms but also there has been an increasing number of Chinese companies hiring expatriates, State-owned companies included.
where job openings for expats from 70 cities all over China are posted, non-education jobs take up about 70% of all jobs. The average salary for non-education positions is about 20,500 per month, depending on qualifications and industry.
For example, jobs requiring entry-level experience, which is the majority of job openings, are averaging a salary of 19,255 RMB. Mid-Senior level positions average salary is 20,932 RMB and Senior Executive positions average salary rises to 25,866 RMB (all salaries per month).
Building a career in China is such a plus on your resume, and the experience comfortably places you on the international marketplace map. Besides there being so many careers in China for foreigners, expats are fascinated by the thought of working in the world’s fastest-growing economy and an opportunity of being able to experience a completely different culture. As much as working in a cross-cultural environment isn’t a walk in the park, choosing to work in China demonstrates your willingness to work in a new culture and your flexibility in experiencing a different market.
1. TEACHING ENGLISH
This is perhaps the most common and stereotyped job in China. English teachers are found far and wide in China from the cosmopolitan megacities like Beijing and Shanghai to small villages in Tibet. English teaching jobs are available at high schools, universities, and also at a growing number of private language schools. Ideally, they are advertised through email or telephone contacts either directly by the school or a placement agency. Some of the placement agencies match the foreign teachers with Chinese schools, provide pre-departure training, and only charge a modest fee for this service. Some of the international teaching opportunities can also be found at major job fairs. The candidates require a government-issued public school teaching certificate and should plan on attending the fair to participate in on-site interviews.
2. IT JOBS
China’s Information Technology business is booming, and small and medium-sized technology enterprises offer many employment opportunities in the IT sector for expats especially in the Southern coastal city of Shenzhen, Beijing’s Zhongguancun Hi-Tech Development Zone and Shanghai. The Chinese government is highly committed to developing the technology industry and with such rapid developments, most often than not they run short of IT professionals with a myriad of job openings in IT and related fields not being filled.
3. ENGINEERING / SPECIALIZED TECHNICAL SKILLS JOBS.
It might sound absurd since China has one of the highest numbers of engineers graduating from universities yearly, but with the rapid growth in industrial production, they fall short of skills in some areas. There are newer, highly-specialized fields such as automotive, oil and gas, clean energy, and general heavy industries in China which the universities find it hard to train in and this is where they outsource talent. Additionally, foreigners lend companies and project an air of prestige since they have a higher level of hands-on experience with globe-spanning projects thus are highly valued and in demand to work on Chinese-designed infrastructure projects.
4. MARKETING/CREATIVE FIELD JOBS
Marketing as well as another creative field in China such as design and content related e-commerce are fast-growing and also one of the careers in China for foreigners since there is a high demand for foreign nationals with the relevant skills. In this field, there are two main companies, the Chinese companies looking to improve their global presence and image and the foreign companies looking for experienced China hands to help them penetrate the local market. It is the perfect field for individuals with genuine curiosity, language skills, and strong critical thinking skills since it entails bridging the gap between two business cultures.
5.ENGLISH EDITOR/ WRITER/ JOURNALIST
This is perfect for individuals with a strong command of the English language and grammar. Beijing alone has a plethora of state-run English newspapers, TV channels, radio stations, news portals which blast the message to the world. Working in such organizations is great since it helps you expand your network and lay the groundwork for future opportunities. Also, corporations are looking for English speakers for legal document translation, technical writing, and coherent correspondence with overseas clients.
6. ADVERTISING JOBS
China’s advertising industry has been on the rise, and they are constantly looking for new faces with a different outlook. The creative instinct and high amount of energy and drive are the prerequisites for such a job. Foreign and Chinese companies are fighting a dog-eat-dog battle for the Chinese market; hence, the different ad agencies are always looking for new faces to work in this fast-paced, highly-competitive environment.
Working in China is such an amazing, character-building challenge. There are tons of careers in China for foreigners, and whether it’s an internship or a full-time job, the impact is insurmountable. You will stand above any other candidate in your field not only because of your rich job experience but also because of your character and ability to deal with individuals from different cultures. Working in a foreign land is quite eye-opening but working in China is a blessing.
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