Employment opportunities in China

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I am currently studying for an MA in Chinese and business and am constantly being told that there is no shortage of employment opportunities in China for British Mandarin speakers. Frustratingly, however, these job opportunities seem to be somewhat elusive and I wondered if you might be able to point me in the right direction so that my search for employment might prove a little more fruitful! Many thanks

-- Hannah Williams (Wuhannah@yahoo.com), February 16, 2002


Yes, there are many opportunities, but they don't all present themselves at the same time and it is not easy to find them.

It is worth doing research into the business, government and nongovernmental organisations that need a person with your qualifications and experience. You can then present yourself to them and keep reminding them of your existence so that they are able to consider you when they need to fill a vacancy. You will presumably also want to make yourself known to business schools in Beijing, Shanghai and elsewhere, where you may be able to find a teaching post that would raise your profile and put you in touch with Chinese companies that might employ you in the future.

There are people who will do this for you, such as headhunters. The most active of these are often found in Hong Kong, where they are listed in the Yellow Pages as Executive Search Agencies. They are worth registering with, remotely if necessary, preferably in person if you have the cash for a visit to Hong Kong, the longer the better. They recruit for positions in Hong Kong but several of them also recruit for mainland China.

There are also web sites which carry vacancies and also allow you to post your cv online. These are worth trying, although you should not limit yourself to Internet job searching, which rates fairly poorly compared to other approaches (as demonstrated in the perpetually interesting What Color Is Your Parachute? by Richard Nelson Bolles).

You are probably aware of NGOs connected with China such as the Great Britain China Centre. If you are not a member yet, then become one. They will provide good advice on job seeking in China as well as plenty of contacts with people of all ages who will be able to shed light on particular places and institutions there.

-- Ken Davies (kendavies@yahoo.com), April 26, 2002.

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