Category: Living & Working in China

09/25/14

Permalink 10:53:09 am, by dacare, 195 words, 112 views   English (US)
Categories: News of China, Living & Working in China

Ningbo kicks off job fair to seek overseas talent

About 1,500 domestic companies have taken part in the fair, releasing more than 1,000 human talent and science projects. An estimated 8,000 new jobs will be introduced during the event.

Each year, the local government undertakes a survey to show the types of jobs that are most needed. This year, the city adopted for the first time a comparative study method to evaluate the city's talent resources and competence in the regional market by researching the job markets in Shanghai, Hangzhou, Suzhou and Wuxi, all located in the Yangtze River Delta economic zone.

The survey concluded there were 587 urgent job needs, covering five economic sectors. It also showed the market demand for innovative talent is still high, as most companies are used to adopting rather than inventing new products and technologies.

Seven job positions stand out as most urgent for the city — new-material engineers, car components engineers, senior architects, e-commerce managers, fashion designers, pharmaceutical experts and automation equipment experts.

The job fair places a premium on attracting those who have acquired a master's or a doctorate degree overseas. The local government will provide "mother care" services for such talents, offering them funds, welfare, houses, family settlement and healthcare.

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09/15/14

Permalink 11:55:52 am, by dacare, 820 words, 259 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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06/09/14

Permalink 04:20:02 pm, by dacare, 1421 words, 202 views   English (US)
Categories: Living & Working in China

More foreign students compete in China's employment market

The competitive job market in Beijing has been hotter than the scorching summer this year, as it is not only proving to be tough for locals, but for foreign graduates seeking jobs as well. The market is further being heated up by new rules that allow foreign students to work part time while they study.

At a job fair held at the Beijing Friendship Hotel, foreign students are trying to land a job in China.

Last month, about 27 companies and institutions from China' eastern Zhejiang Province offered 142 vacancies for positions including engineers, salespeople and foreign managers, which attracted some 200 foreigners, mostly students.

"I've come here to get experience and hopefully get a job in China," 22-year-old Russian student Kristina Popova, from Beijing Foreign Studies University, told the Global Times.

It was Popova's first time at a job fair. She has been studying Chinese for five years and has worked as a translator and part-time English teacher. Despite her existing experience in China, she said she was a bit worried.

"The interview officers seem very professional. I think they might be looking for someone with more experience," she said.

There were over 320,000 international students studying at 690 universities across China in 2012, up 11 percent from 2011. That number is expected to reach 500,000 in 2016, according to the Department of International Cooperation and Exchange, under the Ministry of Education.

For many foreign students like Popova, China is seen as a land of possibilities. They might find jobs more easily than at home, with higher pay and a relatively more comfortable life. But not everything is easy. The path that leads to a job is often harder than they expect.

New policies

When it comes to working in China, one of the most important things that foreign students have to clarify with their Chinese employers is "will you get me a working visa?"

To get a working visa, foreigners must have at least two years of work experience in the relevant industry, which rules out most graduates. This means that foreign graduates have to go back home after graduation so they can apply for a job in China after getting the required experience.

Until last year, foreign students were not allowed to work part time or take on an internship while they were studying. Some believe these policies were the major reasons that stopped some foreign students from studying in China.

Employers face fines of up to 10,000 yuan ($1,600) for each foreigner illegally hired, and foreigners who work illegally may have their income confiscated and can face detention or deportation.

But there have been recent changes. Last year the government updated the current visa system and introduced some changes to the application process for a residence permit. For the first time, foreigners holding study residence permits were permitted to take part-time jobs or internships outside the campus as long as they obtain approval from their academic institutions and the entry and exit administrative authorities.

Lin Yaochen, a business assistant with Zhejiang-based King-Mazon Machinery Co. Ltd, who interviewed a dozen foreign students at the job fair in Beijing, told the Global Times that the company is willing to offer intern opportunities for inexperienced candidates.

"We are actually looking for the more experienced candidates, but the foreign students told us that their universities don't offer them internship opportunities," Lin said.

This is Lin's third time hiring foreign talent in Beijing. "You can see these young people come prepared. They dress up in suits and greet us politely," she said. "You can see they really take it seriously."

At the end of a whole day of interviews, Lin said they had given out two official job offers and three internship opportunities.

During the summer hiring period this year, the career centers of many universities have been busy introducing this new rule to foreign students, who are about to compete with 7 million fresh Chinese graduates.

"I believe foreign students have a better chance than Chinese students," Popova said.

However, education experts see it as an opportunity to promote culture. "I don't think the increasing number of foreign students brings competition to Chinese graduates," Zhu Dingjian, a representative of the standing committee of the All China Youth Federation, said while attending this year's National People's Congress in March.

"Friendship first, competition second," Zhu continued. "Foreign students can promote diplomatic friendship no matter whether they work in China or at home."

Ejaz Karim, 29, a Pakistani student studying at Tianjin Normal University, came all the way to Beijing for the job fair to gain experience.

Before coming to China, Karim had three years experiences working at a tour company at home. Now he wants to get into the hotel management industry.

"The economy in China is growing faster than in my country," Karim told the Global Times. "I know the job market is becoming more and more competitive as the number of foreigners increase, but I think I can stand out with my international background."

Foreigners with an international background, like Karim, are favored by many Chinese companies that are expanding their business networks overseas.

"We need more foreign professionals to push our products to go global," Ge Wei, an HR manager at the Zhejiang-based Shanhai Machinery Company, told the Global Times. "We do not mind hiring talent from developing countries as they can develop new markets for us."

The second thing that most foreign students are concerned about is payment. Generally foreign employees receive an income 2.5 times higher than Chinese employees in the same position.

But many inexperienced foreign students are satisfied with a lower starting salary. Popova said 5,000 yuan a month, with accommodation provided, would be acceptable.

"We can offer up to 40,000 yuan for a professional European engineer, plus an apartment," said Lin. "For salespeople, 20,000 yuan a month is acceptable."

New supervision and management

When China opened its doors to the world in 1980s, it was uncertain what kind of foreign talent it might attract. China's foreign population has risen as the economy has grown.

Not all Chinese companies are permitted to hire foreigners. Companies that have been open for less than two years cannot, but some of these companies bypass these rules by asking foreign employees to get other types of visas such as business or tourist visas.

Over the years, the country has developed means of cracking down on foreigners working illegally. In May 2012, Beijing launched a 100-day crackdown on "illegal foreigners," focusing on those working illegally in the city or who overstayed their visas. More than 60 models, mostly from Europe, were taken into custody for working without working visas last month in Shanghai and Guangzhou.

A year later, the authorities released new visa and residence permit regulations for foreigners, as well as new regulations about foreigners working in China.

The regulation strengthens supervision and management over foreigners, including allowing some institutions to verify their identities with exit-entry administration authorities when necessary, and making it necessary for foreign nationals to report to local entry and exit administrative authorities if they change jobs or house.

Some foreigners complain that the rules are changed too often. "Every year or 18 months, there are new rules. This can upset lots of foreigners because they don't know where they stand. It's inconsistent," Carlos Ottery, 31, a teacher at the Communication University of China, told the Global Times.

Ottery has been living in China for five years with a working visa. Every time he leaves China, he has to report to the local police station within 24 hours when he comes back. He thinks this is an onerous task.

"As the regulations are getting stricter, I am afraid some small companies might think twice before getting a work visa for foreign employees," an HR manager surnamed Zhu at a Beijing-based foreign company told the Global Times.

There have been some positive changes for foreign staff. In 2011, foreigners working in Chinese companies became eligible to participate in the national social insurance scheme, which covers pensions, medical, work-related injuries, unemployment and maternity insurance programs.

Now China is considering relaxing its "green card" policy. In the ten years since the system was launched in 2004, an average of just 248 foreigners obtained green cards annually, according to Xinhua.

But with or without a green card, staying in China is the priority for many foreign students. "I've been studying Chinese for five years, it would be a waste of time if I go home now," Popova said.

When asked what if she couldn't find a job, she considered the question for a moment. "Well, I would go for postgraduate study like Chinese students do," she said.

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03/28/14

Permalink 10:57:03 am, by dacare, 578 words, 157 views   English (US)
Categories: News of China, Living & Working in China

Challenges in the air to foreign recruitment

The continual smog affecting the country's major cities has created problems in terms of recruiting workers at foreign-invested companies as expatriates fear to put their own and their families' health at risk, industry insiders said.

The biggest issue is not so much investment or business decisions but recruitment, according to Roland Decorvet, chairman and chief executive officer of Nestle for the Greater China Region.

"We are really struggling to persuade people to move to Beijing - especially people with children," he told China Daily.

"We certainly don't want to increase our offices here. We'd rather increase them in places other than Beijing."

Decorvet said the company has made an effort to clean the offices' air and has given subsidies to employees for air cleaners at home.

But what employees worry about most is their children, said Decorvet, who as of May 1 is leaving Nestle to take a position at Mercy Ships, a charity organization.

The Swiss native will be succeeded by John Cheung, who is from Hong Kong.

For its part, Panasonic Corp of China said that it is paying a "hazard bonus for those foreign employees located in a challenging environment".

In negotiations this spring, revisions of salaries and labor conditions were discussed based on the air quality in China, the company's communication office said. But no decision was made.

The Financial Times reported on March 12 that the Japanese electronic company would offer air pollution compensation to their workers in China.

Panasonic is not the first to subsidize expats living in smog-affected cities, but it is the first to acknowledge that the allowance is specifically related to smog, according to Max Price, partner of Antal International China, a recruitment specialist based in the United Kingdom.

Price from Antal called it a dangerous precedent, which could be seen as putting a price on the health of individual workers.

Employers already are offering extra health insurance for foreign workers in China, with some companies "pollution-proofing" their buildings with air filters and window sealing, he said.

Such situations have become more prevalent. Some foreign professionals have decided that enough is enough and have asked for repatriation or an assignment away from China, according to Price.

"It is becoming more of a factor as time progresses. Polluted air is a major issue for foreign professionals, especially those looking to move to China with families," he said.

The pollution issue used to be offset by significantly higher salaries, but with the cost of living rising in expat areas, the salary benefit is not as attractive, Price noted.

Della Peng, human resources director for ManpowerGroup China, a workforce solution provider, said she is aware of the issues surrounding smog.

"Some enterprises could find it hard to recruit foreign employees if the air situation is not improved," said Peng.

Several managers have been transferred out from China due to the problem, she said.

But she said that, overall, the allure of working in China - one of the most crucial markets for international companies - still outweighs environmental issues, which are likely to be improved in the future.

In addition, she said, employers are making efforts to balance the costs and opportunities. For example, despite the concerns over smog, the number of inbound visitors last year has increased, she said.

Measures taken by foreign-invested companies to lure more expatriates include subsidies to those assigned to smog-affected regions or implementation of flexible working hours, she said. Many companies have moved expatriate professionals to less-polluted cities.

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03/21/14

Permalink 11:30:22 am, by dacare, 369 words, 135 views   English (US)
Categories: News of China, Living & Working in China

Foreigners allowed bigger stakes in Chinese companies

Relaxed regulation unlikely to create big short-term waves amid low stock market confidence: Analysts

Foreign investors can own more of a listed Chinese company after rules were relaxed to draw long-term overseas capital.

Qualified Foreign Institutional Investors (QFII) and Renminbi Qualified Foreign Institutional Investors (RQFII) can hold up to 30 percent of a company, under a guideline issued by the Shanghai Stock Exchange on Wednesday.

That had earlier been capped at 20 percent of total outstanding shares in a company. Foreign investors will soon also be able to invest in more financial products, including asset-backed securities and preferred shares, according to the authority.

Analysts said the move is meant to attract more long-term capital and boost China's equity market. It is in line with the Chinese leadership's plan to further open up the capital market.

QFII and RQFII are programs for licensed foreign investors to buy and sell yuan-denominated "A" shares on the Shanghai and Shenzhen stock exchanges.

State Administration of Foreign Exchange data show that in February, China issued total quotas of $52.3 billion under the QFII program and 180.4 billion yuan ($29.32 billion) under the RQFII program, which allows investments using offshore yuan.

QFIIs increased holdings in more than 20 Shanghai-listed companies, according to their annual reports. The Bank of Ningbo Co Ltd and Ping An Insurance (Group) Co of China Ltd were among companies that got the most QFII investment, Securities Times said on Thursday.

Analysts said foreign investors, favoring long-term value investment, are cautious about China's stock market, which has suffered bearish sentiment since 2008 and has been hurt by insider trading and price manipulation scandals.

"The overall amount of QFII and RQFII investment is still limited on the A-share market, so the impact of the new rules may be limited in lifting the market," said Zito Ji, an analyst with a mutual fund in Shanghai.

Investors cite corporate governance as a problem. Analysts say a lack of clarity about how Beijing will tax profits from QFII investments has also restrained some investors, Reuters said.

A weakening yuan and a pressured property industry is dragging investor confidence in China's stock market.

The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index slumped by 1.4 percent to 1,993.48 on Thursday. And Shenzhen Component Index dived to a five-year low to 6,698.2.

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02/21/14

Permalink 02:13:57 pm, by dacare, 146 words, 181 views   English (US)
Categories: Living & Working in China

China to Welcome More Professionals from Abroad

China will recruit more top-notch professionals from abroad this year, said the country's human resources authorities on Wednesday.

It is hoped the high-level experts will fully engage in the country's development, said a statement from the Organization Department of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, after a national meeting of Party and government officials in charge of human resources.

China has operated a recruitment program, named "Plan 1,000", to attract overseas Chinese experts to build their careers in the country, since 2008.

So far 4,180 people have been recruited, 861 of them last year, the statement said.

These professionals, mostly scientists, have contributed to research in bioscience, plasma physics, nuclear technologies, space programs and satellites, it said.

But the government is also working on rules to end contracts with those who do not meet the needs of the country or fail to do their jobs, the statement added.

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