Shanghai job fair advises on hard to find expat positions

Published:  16 Apr at 6 PM
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With a large number of English-speaking expats now heading for China’s huge cities in hope of finding work, it’s obvious that a wide variety of jobs are being sought in diverse sectors.

However, Shanghai employers in general are looking for world-class talent with an understanding of Western culture, specialised skills and the ability to speak Mandarin, a tall order for most expat arrivals in the city. The one option open to those who can’t fulfill the above criteria is to teach English, a skill much in demand at the recent foreigner-aimed jobs fair held in the city’s Jing-an District.

Almost half of the 60–plus exhibitors were representatives of local universities, international schools, colleges and private language schools. According to Cathy Xiao, manager with Ylingo International Studies and Communications Inc, expats are needed to fill a noticeable talent gap in English language schools in China.

Jobs, she added, are easily found, provided the applicant has a bachelor’s degree, two years’ teaching experience and an accredited teaching certificate. Exhibitor Roger Sinnett, a director at the Oxford International College, agreed that work experience is essential, as degrees in non-relevant subjects don’t give a clue as to whether an applicant would make a good teacher.

He suggested that applicants should concentrate on making a career out of teaching rather than using it as a stop-gap job or applying for other vacancies and taking on teaching as an alternative. According to an Italian graduate job-seeker, finding a suitable position in Shanghai is difficult, as local employers prefer Chinese staff who are fluent in Mandarin and English.

Forest Jiang, GM of a local heavy equipment company, stated that he only needed foreigners with high-tech backgrounds and experience who could help his company expand into global markets. Competition, it seems, in almost every sector apart from education, is fierce and stacked against non- Mandarin speakers.
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