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Finding EmploymentBack to top Back to main Skip to menu
China - Finding Employment
The Chinese job market has grown steadily over the years. China is the only economy that remained robust even after the global economic crisis. In addition, some multinational corporations are moving their headquarters to China, where the cost of running a business is cheaper. Expats looking forward to living and working in China are likely to be absorbed by the many companies setting up shop in the country.
Some of the international companies that have set up shop in China have more than 70 percent expat staff population. Many expats working in China are mostly in sales and marketing (40 percent), engineering (20 percent), management (10 percent), and IT (five percent).
Nevertheless, it is still possible to be employed as an expat in a Chinese-owned company. There are those positions that Chinese employers reserve for international workers, including senior management positions or engineering posts. These vacancies are available in Chinese companies dealing in top-tier manufacturing.
The only other way to be employed by a Chinese company is to provide a skill set unique to the employer's workforce. For example, expats who have lots of knowledge in IT and complex manufacturing processes are often highly regarded by Chinese employers. Financial and accounting skills can also put you in a better position for being hired.
Local Chinese companies often favor financial managers who double as expats in international WTO rules. Law is also a highly sought after skill set for most companies, and attorneys with an added knowledge of international trade law often get priority during recruitment processes. Expats who combine a unique skill set with knowledge of Mandarin stand a better chance of nailing top managerial positions in Chinese owned firms.
You can also find work via a recruitment agency as an expat. There are plenty of online recruitment agencies in China that link qualified candidates with potential employers. One of these job agencies is Hudson, who have a website where you can search for new job postings daily.
The first step in the job application process is to submit your updated curriculum vitae to an online recruitment agency. The agency will save your CV in their database and send you an alert whenever a position comes up that matches your skills. The advantage of job ad agencies is that they skim through all the available CVs and find the right candidates for the advertized position. These agencies can also give you tips on how to prepare yourself for a job interview or for the expectations of potential employers.
Salaries In China
It is possible for expats to find well-paid employment in China. How much you are paid will depend on several factors. In addition, your salary will determine what kind of life you can afford in China.
If you are an expat being hired from within China, expect a salary that is lower than that of a migrant sourced internationally for the same position. Making the effort to learn the local language of Mandarin will boost your chances of top tier positions with great salaries. A Chinese employer would give you a raise for the same position if you become proficient at the language.
Another factor to consider in terms of your salary package is the specific allowances you will be getting. Most Chinese-owned firms hire locally to avoid the extra cost of paying their workers housing or education allowances. This is why you are better off working for a multinational company, where such allowances are guaranteed. Don’t forget to consider health insurance, which is quite expensive for expats in China. Getting your employer to cater for a portion of your insurance fees will make them more affordable.
If you are an expat moving with your entire family to China, an education allowance could be a major deal breaker regarding whether you accept a job or not. Like health insurance, getting your children to the best schools in China can make deep inroads on your income. Negotiate for an education allowance with your employer before accepting a job.
China has high income tax. It is possible to receive a deduction of 20 percent from your salary to cover taxes alone. If you move up the ladder to top tier positions, your income tax can rise to 40 percent. However, you should still be able to afford a good life in China even after taxes.
Finding Temporary Work
Expats can find temporary jobs in China, although this will involve a lot of searching. Fortunately, you can visit websites such as expat.com, where migrants chat and alert each other of possible job offers in the local area. If you are a university student looking for temporary work or an internship, you can get leads from your college mates or from campus mentors in your faculty.
Working Legally In China
It is important for expats to have valid visas while looking for work in China. Recently, the Chinese government increased the penalty for migrants who live or work in China illegally. The penalties can be as much as 10,000 to 20,000 yuan. The expat might also be detained in a prison cell for a period of 15 days pending a court hearing.
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