Finding a new job in China

Finding a new job in China

13th March, 2012

China is an exciting country and the prospect of finding a new job there appeals to many intrepid employees. From experience there are two major routes into employment in China. Each has its potential advantages and disadvantages and which you choose will depend to an extent on your personality. 

In this post I’ll look at finding a new job in China in more detail. If you’re moving there soon, you might also find it useful to read more about becoming an Expat in our free eBook The New Expat.

Setting up from abroad

It’s a tough market, but finding a new job in China with an international company before you arrive comes with a number of benefits. Your company will arrange your visa, usually either recommend accommodation or directly house you, and take care of a healthcare package. You will also likely get your airfare paid once a year or more for visits home.

The disadvantage is that this route is fiercely competitive. If you have high level experience and/or a prestigious qualification then this is likely to be the best route for finding a new job in China. But others without these advantages may struggle.

For this kind of international work, large job sites can narrow the search by country or province where you want to work.

Finding work when you arrive

Finding a new job in China when you arrive comes with greater uncertainty. But you’ll also open yourself up to meeting useful people and engaging face to face with future employers.

Personally, I found that dressing smartly and enquiring in person at a potential employer’s business sometimes works out well if the target employer is in a more Western oriented management/industry. Far from being annoyed at the imposition, most would-be employers are impressed by an international arrival showing up at their door. This is particularly effective in Hong Kong, where there’s a thriving ex-pat scene that’s predisposed to be social to new arrivals.

Scouring the local job pages is also advisable, but be aware that China is an enormous and diverse country. There is a very big difference between metropolitan Shanghai and rough-and-ready Qingdao. So make sure you know where you’d like to end up working before applying to a far-flung province.

For local searches the South China Morning Post and the is useful for Hong Kong, while Internet sites for the mainland include

Those who can teach

It’s always advisable to have a back-up CV that’s slanted towards teaching when looking for a new job in China. Even though this might not be your ideal career, there is proportionally more work in China for English teachers than any other vocation. So having this as a string to your bow will ensure you can get paid work if all else fails. If you’ve arrived on a holiday visa this can also be a neat way to extend your stay without having to leave the country and come back.

What’s more, many other English-language type positions are in strong demand. Roles in journalism, translating services and positions requiring business expertise are the most widely available.

Going it alone

Finally, one other option could be to set up your own business in Hong Kong. Budding entrepreneurs can register a limited company and automatically gain visa dispensation for the wider mainland. This way you can freelance on an international basis, or create your own work in China without having to rely on a company to employ you.

A final thought on finding a new job in China

If you’re travelling to China to work soon, don’t forget to download our free eBook The New Expat which also covers family matters, accommodation issues, financial arrangements, medical considerations and much more.

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Alison Massey

Group Marketing Director

Now Health International

Alison Massey is a 15-year digital marketing veteran, who has spent the last seven years using social media to help expats and soon to be expats find out what to expect from a life overseas. An expat living in Hong Kong herself, Alison is the Group Marketing Director of Now Health, the award-winning international health insurance provider.

Contact Alison Massey

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