Top flight expat jobs in China proving elusive

by Ray Clancy on January 7, 2013

Top flight expat jobs in China proving elusive

Younger people from a wider variety of countries are being attracted to live and work in China, according to a survey. However, becoming an expat in China can be challenging and there is increasing competition from highly qualified Chinese people.

Some 70% of expat executives who took part in survey conducted by the Association of Executive Search Consultants said they noticed a change in the type of expat workers that China is attracting and most are now younger and from more diverse nations. This indicates that China, as one of the few places that is still experiencing growth in the troubled global economy, is attracting more expat executives from a wide range of demographics to pursue their careers, the AESC survey found.

A surprising 71% questioned said that they believe it is difficult for foreign born executives working in China to gain access to local executive positions and 42% said that ‘employers favouring local talent’ is the most inhibiting factor to finding an executive job in China. The survey also shows that 79% of the respondents said that they see a shrinking compensation package gap between expat and local executives.

Quote from ExpatForum.com : “I am wondering what the medical facilities are like within the city like Beijing.”

‘The reasons why expats were needed in management positions in China are now being eroded and local executives also have the advantage of understanding the local market and culture better,’ said one British executive working in Shanghai. Another factor is that companies now have to make social insurance contributions on behalf of their foreign workers, making hiring them more expensive.

Peter Felix, president of the AESC, said expat executives in China still enjoy a competitive edge in many ways. To stay ahead of the game, he recommends that expat executives invest in their cultural skills, Chinese social networks and especially language capabilities so that they may become more easily considered for top management positions in either local or multinational corporations.

Despite the increasing competition from local talent, the expat job market in China is more active than ever. More than half, 51%, of the expat executives surveyed said they are actively looking for a new opportunity and 39% of them are open to considering new opportunities.


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