China’s Still Posting Help Wanted Ads and They May Be Addressed To You
I received a message this afternoon from an acquaintance of mine at Barclays Capital, who conveyed the following:
- There are no jobs. Anywhere.
- The economy is going down the drain. Fast.
- Recruiters can no longer recruit. Recruiters are losing their jobs.
- This is a financial nightmare for everyone. We are doomed.
I am willing to bet that you’ve either heard or thought something similar within the past few months, and the news from China is certainly no exception. Here are just a few from today:
China’s Slowdown is Set to Worsen as Recession Pummels Exports
Chinese Shares in US Fall to 2-Month Low on Growth Concern
The Global Recession Slams China
Six Million Migrants Jobless in China Over Crisis, Govt Data Suggests
These are indeed very bleak times for the global economy and in one way or another, we are all affected. Coming from Time Inc., I’ve seen the aftermath of job loss firsthand; a large percentage of those layoffs involved people who had been loyal to the company for at least a decade. Today, I have been holding my breath. My fiance just so happens to love his job at Microsoft and would like to keep it, thank you.
Our current financial climate is very, very bad and the much of the content within our blogosphere has been enveloped by it. So, before one more economist can say “this situation is quite dire,” the following list highlights a few bright spots- for expats (or expats-to-be):
A recent article in China Daily confirms that, while many firms around the world are laying off staff, Chinese firms are actually hiring more expats. Specialists are in high demand, particularly in the pharmaceutical, high-tech and R&D industries. As Sam LEE put it, you might have to take a “haircut” in salary, but at least you will have a job. And, if you’re an “expert” and would like to stay in Shanghai permanently, where the cost of living is comparatively lower than much of the West, you are in luck. The government revealed on Sunday that they will be making it easier for qualified “experts” to stay in Shanghai permanently.
If you are a native-English speaker, then an entire empire of possibility awaits you in China. While the demand for boutique ESL schools and online tutoring portals continues to grow, so too does the technology and materials behind these schools and domains. Content must be written, textbooks need to be translated and edited, video and audio tapes require pitch-perfect diction, and all of these schools and domains depend upon their managers. ESL in China is gargantuan, and it’s only going to get bigger (especially when tens of millions of Chinese are out of work and believe solely, passionately that English is their only hope for a better future. I said it, and it’s been a common perception for a very long time). If you’re looking for an ESL teaching job, Aston English School is a decent place to work and reallyenglish.com may be a more exciting and versatile option. If you want to do voiceovers, check out Translators Cafe for ideas. I did a fair amount of voiceover and TV work while I lived in China and found most of it through word of mouth, so keep that in mind as well. For editing and translating jobs, it’s easy enough to just approach the publisher that you’re interested in working for. Shandong Educational Press in Jinan hires foreigners on a consultant/freelance basis, as do many others. Maybe speaking English is the golden ticket after all…
There are an incredible number of interesting and legitimate jobs coming through my email and networking inboxes on a daily basis. I’m not a recruiter and I’m not looking to launch a new career, so allow me to share a few of them with you, for the sake of evidence:
- Yes, Microsoft just laid off 1,400 people today but according to Lorna Dunne, a recruiter for Microsoft, the company is actively looking for bilingual (English/Mandarin) Development Managers, Test Managers, and Senior Software Engineers for their offices in Beijing and Shanghai. If this sounds like it might be up your alley, you can contact her at: v-lodun@ microsoft.com
- Gibson Guitar Corporation is looking for entertainment professionals and PR managers for their Shanghai Office. Mandarin appears to be optional, but English is a must. Maybe a lot of people are singing the blues these days?
- I’ve heard both positive and negative buzz about IBM- it looks like they’re going to be laying off some folks in the U.S., but they may be expanding their consulting and research capabilities in China. While IBM will work you to the bone, they’re otherwise a great company to work for, particularly if you’re young and hungry.
Great China-expat job boards include New China Career , Monster China (HK and Mainland), and JobChina.net. LinkedIn is also a wonderful resource with many China-based groups and discussion boards. As always, beware of scams- they’re plentiful.
My final and favorite bright spot is simply this: Do Something Different. Uncover a piece of the pie that has not yet been sliced. Take a gamble- if you’re down on your luck anyway, what do you have to lose? Every single day I encounter fascinating people who have been bold enough to do something different and who have subsequently found great successes in money and in life. Shortly following the Lunar New Year, I will be profiling one young woman who recently blew me away for her ingenuity and foresight in the Chinese market. This weekend, I’ll introduce you to the China Director of one language learning company poised to take over Asia’s ESL market. How does an economist end up in China, running operations for a forward-thinking language content company, anyway?
Until then, put the laptop away and grab a beer. 新年快乐!