China Recruitment

As the world’s second largest economy with economic growth rates that have averaged 10% over the past few decades, China is predicted by some to become the world’s largest economy in less than a decade – meaning high quality talent will find no shortage of job opportunities in China’s recruitment market.

The Chinese Diaspora, Overseas Chinese and Chinese Returnees

It is estimated that there are over 40 million overseas Chinese with most of the Chinese Diaspora living in Southeast Asia. Moreover and from 1978 to 2003, a total number of 700,200 Chinese students and scholars from Mainland China studied abroad in more than 108 countries around the world with 172,800 returning to China to become so-called Haigui or sea turtles – the nickname for all Chinese students and scholars who return from studying overseas. All told, some 630,000 Western-trained Chinese students and scholars have returned home to become Haigui with one-fifth or 135,000 of that number returning in 2010 and then another 186,200 Chinese students returned by the end of 2011.

Today, China has become the number one source for students studying abroad. In fact and in 2011, China’s Ministry of Education estimated that 1.27 million Chinese were studying abroad – a 24% increase over 2009 estimates. It was also estimated that 90% of Chinese students studying abroad were choosing to study in the United States, Canada, Australia, Japan, the United Kingdom, South Korea, Singapore, France, Germany and Russia.

It’s worth noting that initially, Chinese students studied abroad thanks to government funded programmes that were designed to send them overseas to acquire specific knowledge and skills. Today, about 93% of Chinese students who study abroad are self-funded thanks to the country’s growing middle class. In addition and in 2010, China launched the Talent Development Plan (2010-20) to put in place favorable policies in areas such as tax, housing and children and spouse resettlement for high-caliber Chinese students who are willing to return to work in China.

On the other hand, its also worth noting that while a foreign education or international work experience in the past may have guaranteed Chinese professionals much higher salaries upon return, companies are now more careful to offer higher compensation packages to Chinese returnees who have the appropriate skills that merit higher pay than what would otherwise be offered to a local Chinese who has never lived, worked or studied abroad.

China’s Recruitment Market

Despite recent economic uncertainties about the Chinese economy and the sustainability of Chinese economic growth, high quality job candidates and professionals in China’s recruitment market across the board should never lack for job opportunities with candidates often expecting as much as 20% to 30% salary increases if they were to change jobs. However, money is not the only motivation in the Chinese recruitment market as many Chinese job candidates are increasingly putting value on work-life balance (especially female candidates who have or plan to have a child) and on the cultural fit with a perspective employer.

However, western expatriates in China seeking employment face tougher competition from overseas Chinese (e.g. from countries like Malaysia) who will also tend to speak more than one Chinese dialect. Moreover, the sheer numbers of young Westerners who have gone to China in order to learn Mandarin Chinese and to then seek employment there has pushed down their salaries as a whole. In fact and given the lack of good job opportunities in Europe and the United States right now, young Mandarin speaking Western professionals can be hired for just $2,000 a month or less in major Chinese cities.

Working in China

Foreign expatriates intending to work in China will need to obtain an Employment Visa (Z Visa) by submitting all of the necessary forms to a Chinese embassy or consulate abroad. A Chinese Employment Visa (Z Visa) will be valid for one entry and for three months. Once in China, the foreign expatriate will need to go through residential formalities with the local public security department within thirty days of entry. For further information about Chinese visas or China work permits, visit the Employment Visa (Z Visa) page on the website of the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in the United States of America.

As for taxes, China’s income tax rates are progressive and range from 5% to 45% based upon monthly income with a personal fixed monthly deduction available to individual Chinese taxpayers. It should be noted that income taxes in China are paid by employers but China domiciles and non-domiciles who are full-year residents in the country with annual incomes exceeding RMB120,000 are now required to file an annual individual income tax return on a self-declaration basis. For further information about China’s tax rates or China’s taxes in general, visit taxrates.cc and KPMG’s Taxation of International Executives page for China.

Finally, it’s worth noting that base salaries in China are based upon 13 months with the 13th month pay being made around Chinese New Year in January or February. However, Chinese compensation packages may include bonuses equivalent to several months’ salary or more depending upon the profession and the industry sector.

China Recruitment and Jobs Resources

For additional China recruitment resources, check out the China tagged posts from our Brain Drain to Brain Gain blog as well as our China jobs page.

  • RSS China – Brain Gain Asia LLC

    • Asia has some of the most expensive cities for expats June 24, 2017
      Mercer’s annual Cost of Living Survey finds African, Asian, and European cities dominating the list of most expensive locations for expats working abroad: Five of the top 10 cities in this year’s ranking are in Asia with Hong Kong (2) more » The post Asia has some of the most expensive cities for expats appeared […]
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    • Why it’s much harder for expat bankers to land a Hong Kong job June 16, 2017
      Bloomberg has reported that more and more, even experienced expat bankers are struggling to find and keep jobs in Hong Kong if they don’t speak Mandarin. The same goes for those without a mastery of China’s business culture or connections more » The post Why it’s much harder for expat bankers to land a Hong […]
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    • China’s booming ‘rent a foreigner’ industry June 12, 2017
      The South China Morning Post has profiled China’s “rent a foreigner” industry as it’s not uncommon for Chinese companies to hire foreigners, especially white Westerners, to represent them in public relations-type roles. Many Chinese equate Caucasian faces with business success more » The post China’s booming ‘rent a foreigner’ industry appeared first on Brain Gain […]
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    • Study: Chinese companies are more ‘Western’ in picking CEOs than Japanese May 28, 2017
      The Asian Nikkei Review has noted a recent PwC study of CEO succession among the world’s 2,500 largest publicly traded companies and has found that China and Japan pick new CEOs with very different profiles. Approximately 14.9% or 372 companies more » The post Study: Chinese companies are more ‘Western’ in picking CEOs than Japanese […]
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    • Survey: Employee (dis)engagement in Asia May 26, 2017
      The Asian Nikkei Review has noted a recent survey by Gallup conducted globally from 2014 through 2016 which found that workers in East Asia are much less engaged in their jobs than their counterparts in the rest of the world. more » The post Survey: Employee (dis)engagement in Asia appeared first on Brain Gain Asia […]
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    • Survey: Expat women increasingly unhappy about the Hong Kong lifestyle March 15, 2017
      The South China Morning Post has reported that in a female expat satisfaction survey by expatriate networking website InterNations, Hong Kong has become significantly less popular (falling from 12th to 29th place in the rankings) with expat women in the more » The post Survey: Expat women increasingly unhappy about the Hong Kong lifestyle appeared […]
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    • The end of the golden era for expats in China? October 25, 2016
      According to the South China Morning Post, some expats say that rising living costs, a move towards hiring locals and new visa rules in particular are making life on the mainland harder for foreigners. For example: There has been an more » The post The end of the golden era for expats in China? appeared […]
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    • How Hong Kong’s professional landscape has changed over the past decade June 15, 2016
      Advance (“Connecting Australians Globally”) recently interviewed Australian Fiona Nott (a Governance and Compliance Consultant and non-executive director of Aesop Hong Kong; founder and chair of the Australian Chamber of Commerce Women In Business Network; and a Board member of the 30% Club) more » The post How Hong Kong’s professional landscape has changed over the past decade […]
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    • Study: International students at US universities cheap more than local students June 7, 2016
      A Wall Street Journal analysis of data from more than a dozen large U.S. public universities found that in the 2014-15 school year, the schools recorded 5.1 reports of alleged cheating for every 100 international students. They recorded only one more » The post Study: International students at US universities cheap more than local students […]
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    • China to create an expat talent database April 20, 2016
      AsiaOne reports that Zhang Jianguo, director of the State Administration of Foreign Expert Affairs, has said that China will build a database of overseas expat talent as part of a digital platform to match foreign experts with potential employers. The more » The post China to create an expat talent database appeared first on Brain […]
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