What to Expect When Job Hunting in China

What to Expect When Job Hunting in China
Mar 22, 2023 By eChinacities.com

You’ve optimized your CV for China jobs and are ready to start your big job hunting adventure. Whether you’re looking for your first job in China or your sixth, navigating the job market here can be tricky. Here’s a brief guide on what to expect when job hunting in China.

job hunting in China

Things can be slow moving

Although China is known for its breakneck development speed, it can take a weirdly long time for companies to respond to job applicants. I’m talking most likely weeks and possibly months. The main issue is that competition is fierce in the job market, particularly at the moment when a lot of Chinese graduates are struggling to find work. These days, you may find you’re up against not only other foreigners but also highly skilled local talent, many of whom have excellent English.

Make sure, therefore, that you start job hunting activities at least a few months before you intend to move to China for work or switch jobs within China, as the response time may be slower than you’re used to in the West. Also remember not to give up hope if your dream employer doesn’t respond right away to your application.

Network counts for a lot

Networking is important in any job market, but in China, with the firmly embedded concept of guanxi, its importance increases tenfold. While it’s tempting to only network within expat circles, you’ll need to get stuck in with the Chinese professional community too if you really want to get a grasp on the full range of opportunities available to you. Attend networking events, conferences and social gatherings if you’re already in China and be sure to connect on WeChat with anyone who you think is interesting or could help your cause. Read this for some tips on how to maximize your networking efforts in China.

If job hunting from afar, keep on friendly terms with the HR executives you come across as these connections could prove extremely valuable down the line. They may think of you when a great role comes up in the future, even if the one you’re applying for isn’t a good fit. It’s also a good idea to join as many social media groups as you can for your chosen profession in China.

Things aren’t always what they seem

A lot of expats come across red herrings during their job hunts in China. You may find a job ad that sounds perfect only to apply, interview and then get offered a job which differs wildly from what you expected. You may find the salary, benefits and even responsibilities are nothing like what you were led to believe. Or maybe your new role will turn out to be one of China’s notorious ‘face jobs,’ where foreigners are employed by the company for their Western appearance and little else.

Another common occurrence is recruiters somehow getting hold of your contact details and aggressively promoting an endless list of unsuitable positions to you. Love them or hate them, recruiters will likely play a big part in your job hunt in China, so treat them with courtesy but don’t be afraid to insist on what you want.  

Don’t expect a cushy gig

China isn’t the land of opportunity it once was for foreigners. Once upon a time, foreigners were a much rarer commodity here, with fluent English skills alone enough to land you a well paid job. These days, there are many more foreigners already in China, many more highly skilled Chinese nationals and even a decreased emphasis on the importance of English. Foreign nationals are also required to have at least a bachelor’s degree and two years’ work experience in order to work in China.

However, what the foreign community in China has lost in terms of highly paid jobs based on very few credentials, it has gained in terms of real opportunities that can give you actually valuable experience to improve your career potential in the future. Your salary is unlikely to be as crazily high as the comparative expat salaries of yesteryear, especially if you’re job hunting from within China. But before you complain, remember that you’re still probably receiving a lot more than your Chinese counterparts. It’s all just part of China’s development.

Hiring bias

If you’ve never worked in China before, be aware that you’re about to enter a job market that is in many ways far less progressive than in the West. Your future employers and colleagues are likely to be fairly conservative, particularly as middle aged men still dominate management level at most companies. As a result, there is unfortunately a somewhat accepted level of gender and racial discrimination embedded in China’s recruitment process.

Non-white candidates may find themselves discriminated against, especially when going to jobs within the English teaching sector. And although the government has taken steps to discourage such actions, female job seekers are still likely to endure questions about their marital status, age and family situation. This is because employers are reluctant to hire married women who don’t have children yet as they don’t want to shoulder the burden of maternity leave.

What else should be expected when job hunting in China? Tell us your experiences in the comments section below.

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How can I get more points..?

Jul 17, 2023 22:31 Report Abuse


Wow cool

Apr 20, 2023 22:22 Report Abuse


what to expect ? Expect to be lied to, and treated like sh*t.

Apr 14, 2023 15:12 Report Abuse


The article "What to Expect When Job Hunting in China" provides a comprehensive overview of the job hunting process in China, highlighting important cultural differences and expectations that may be unfamiliar to foreigners. The author does an excellent job of outlining the key steps involved in job hunting in China, including networking, preparing a strong resume, and understanding the interview process. Additionally, the article provides valuable insights into Chinese work culture, emphasizing the importance of building relationships and face-to-face communication. Overall, this article is a helpful resource for anyone seeking employment in China, as it provides practical advice and useful tips for navigating the job market. It also underscores the importance of cultural awareness and sensitivity when job hunting in a foreign country.

Apr 08, 2023 12:26 Report Abuse