Top 10 Careers for Foreigners in China
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 of 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.
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. Some of the most interesting careers in China for foreigners are in the following fields.
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 fairs to participate in on-site interviews.
English teaching jobs also frequently require that you are a native speaker and have an English teaching certificate like the TEFL( Teaching English as a Foreign Language).Having a CELTA certificate or a master’s degree will not only increase your chances of finding a job but also your salary. Professional teaching is one of the most lucrative careers for foreigners in China, and it’s highly marketable especially for individuals with advanced degrees. The international schools in China pay some of the best salaries you’ll find anywhere, and the universities keep looking for qualified teachers to lead math, science or history courses in English-medium programs. In fact, there is a significant increase in graduate schools that run programs in English thus if you have a specialized degree and some English, this is exactly what you need to propel you to the next career level.
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 field not being filled.
For instance, the Chinese Internet has always operated on different standards and principles something entirely distinct from the global market. With that, more and more big Chinese websites and companies are seeking to create an international market. This directly makes IT one of the in-demand careers in China for foreigners since they will need skilled Western foreign IT masters to achieve this. An example would be Alibaba, which is the Chinese answer to Amazon or eBay, has hired a huge team of foreign IT, Marketing and Design specialists to enhance their global presence.
3. Engineering / Specialized Technical Skills jobs.
It might sound absurd since China has one of the highest numbers of engineers graduating from the 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.Trading company sales manager.
Sales managers primarily basically focus on handling sales for corporate clients, but they can also be in charge of directing sales teams. It is very imperative that you have an understanding of Chinese business customs and etiquette for its vital for success in this industry. Most trading companies in China hook up the suppliers with Western buyers hence look for aggressive sales foreigners to help in facilitating the business and outing their products out, and if you are good enough, with strong sales and management skills, you can increase your chances of landing new accounts.
7.Accounting and Financial jobs
There is a myriad of opportunities in the accounting and financial sector of China. They range from foreign bank executives to advanced financial controller. The Chief Financial Controller is one of the in-demand careers in China for foreigners and requires not only vast knowledge on financial policies but also a mix of Western and Chinese business experience. Also, after China entered the WTO at the end of 2001, it gradually opened and expanded its financial sector thus the demand for financial talents has kept increasing.
8.Hotel management jobs
It’s beyond doubt that China’s tourism industry is booming, and it’s not going to slow down anytime soon. According to WTO, by 2020, China will be the largest tourist country in the whole world. This is a clear indication that the hospitality industry will keep expanding, and the demand for foreign talent will rise. In China, the reception personnel are very few but with their new-found status as a fast-rising tourism economy, more and more jobs are created hence perfect for foreigners with relevant skills wishing to build their careers in China.
9. 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.
Many companies are localizing their content into English and require native-English speakers to do that. Some of the companies include Gaming, IP law, and Energy. You can also work as a freelance translator where you will not be locked in a single location and set your working hours. You must be good in public speaking skills, rich in vocabulary, idioms, and colloquial expressions.
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.