All work, no play

09/15/14

Permalink 11:55:52 am, by dacare, 820 words, 608 views   English (US)
Categories: Living & Working in China

All work, no play


Foreign job-seekers discuss work opportunities at the 4th Expat Job Fair Saturday.


Foreign job-seekers discuss work opportunities at the 4th Expat Job Fair Saturday.

With autumn just around the corner, recent university graduates are putting the carefree days of summer behind them and buckling down in their job search. For foreign job-seekers, Shanghai Expat, one of the city's most established online English-language communities, held its 4th Expat Job Fair Saturday, the second such event organized by the website this year.

Over 20 companies were in attendance at the fair to discuss open positions in fields such as education, healthcare, information technology, real estate, finance and catering. Over 1,300 job-seekers turned out as well, most of them overseas citizens. Many described the event as an invaluable opportunity where individuals and employers could meet face-to-face.

"Besides recruitment, companies can also take the opportunity to do branding promotion at the fair. For example, Fields China, an e-commerce company … is very popular among expats. The company not only recruits new staff at the job fair, they also promote their brand and business by providing free snacks," said Fan Yiting, brand manager from Ringier China, the media group that owns Shanghai Expat.

Some English education institutions saw the job fair as a chance to further their recruitment plans. One of the teaching companies present at the fair, EF Education First, will recruit 200 teachers or so between September and March.

"We do have multiple positions all across China, so we're looking forward to filling quite a few positions. Basically we're looking for teachers to work with kids and teens, or at our online center and face-to-face with adults. Our teachers definitely need to have some teaching experience, ideally two years," said Janice Hu, senior recruiter from EF Education First.

Hu added that the fair is also a good place to meet job-seekers who are already in China. "Lots of times we are dealing with people who are still overseas - maybe from the US or from the UK - and they are coming to China. But at this job fair, it's a nice chance to see who is already in the city and ready to start a new position," said Hu.

Some companies, on the other hand, were looking to recruit far fewer individuals.

"We have two open positions: one is for a sales adviser, the other is for an assistant," said Deanna Greer, senior consultant from Pacific Prime, a provider of insurance services. "The administrative job is more of something we do back at the office, so I'm here specifically looking for the sales position. I'm trying to fill that."

"We're looking for someone who obviously has a bachelor's degree … someone who has some time with other companies. We're looking for people who are really motivated, very ambitious and sales-driven," explained Greer, whose company attended the job fair organized by Shanghai Expat for the second time this year. Overall, Greer described her company's participation in the fair as a positive experience.

"Last year we hired two people from this job fair. They are still with the company today. They've been very successful," she explained.

Still, several employers explained that they regard the fair as merely a venue to connect with potential recruits. Most companies will conduct a more in-depth selection and review process after the fair to assess the candidate's qualifications.

"The people who want to apply with us have to be very international and bilingual," said Zhang Wenjing, an asset and tenancy management executive from Asia Pacific Properties. "They will not only face our clients from overseas, but also local people in Shanghai. And they need to have skills to negotiate with them."

Some employers also spoke about the impact new work visa policies were having on their recruitment plans.

"We want to recruit a few foreign managers for our restaurants," said Shi Hui, HR manager from Element Fresh. "Although there are many job-seekers here, we have to find some with catering industry experience. Because of tighter visa policies, now only people who have at least two years of full-time work experience in the same industry can apply for a work visa, so many candidates here are not qualified. This adds some difficulty to selecting candidates."

Harry Vuylsteke from Belgium has been in Shanghai for 13 months. He is looking into technical sales jobs. He has a master's degree in engineering as well as an MBA which he obtained in Shanghai.

"It would be great if there would be more companies," Vuylsteke remarked when asked about the employers who were present at the fair. "(The fair) definitely gives you an idea about possible positions in China. I've been looking for a job for three weeks. The main feedback I always get is you need to speak Putonghua, so it's really tough if you want to work in China." Nevertheless, Vuylsteke added that, "it is really a nice thing to see that there's a job fair for foreigners."

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