With a population of 1.4 billion, China plays an important and influential role in the global economy – and its graduate labour market plays a part in that.
There are many reasons why Chinese students with an international education are in demand in China. Employability in Focus, a 2019 report by the British Council, finds core advantages of you studying abroad include developing better interpersonal and communication skills, improved English language, and enhancing problem-solving and analytical skills. Additionally, studying overseas tends to broaden international networks, increasing your ability to work with a diverse client base.
However, there can also be a down side to studying abroad. If you’re studying on a one year master’s programme it’s difficult to complete internships, which are a common requirement in the Chinese market. Some Chinese recruiters have also been concerned returning graduates can be unrealistic regarding salary expectations when in competition with domestic students studying at universities in China. It’s also important to keep up to date about the Chinese market when studying abroad, to remain commercially aware.
Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen and Guangzhou and Tianjin are amongst the most popular places for students to find work, and many multinational companies have their Asian headquarters in one of these east coast locations on the mainland – as well as in Hong Kong. Beyond these, growing cities such as Chengdu, Suzhou and Dalian also attract students
Due to the growth in China’s IT and mobile internet services sector there are a number of opportunities and roles available. Companies such as Tencent, Baidu and Alibaba have a great presence in the market and represent the potential in this sector for increasing graduate opportunities across all service areas.
Recruitment timelines in China
As the recruitment landscape in China is so diverse, it’s difficult to provide a comprehensive overview. The recruitment timeline in China for foreign investment enterprises or local private enterprises is generally August to October which can make it difficult for one year master’s students to apply. However, many employers are starting to use remote methods of recruitment, such as video interviews, Skype interviews or, if they have a UK office, setting up interviews here. We also organise careers fairs throughout August in Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong, specifically aimed at students looking to return to mainland China or Hong Kong after graduation.
Developing your network
There are strategies you can use whilst here in the UK to help you prepare for your return. One recommendation would be that you could start networking with LSE alumni who have found roles in China. To help you connect you can use platforms such as LinkedIn or the LSE alumni associations in Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong. We have also run a remote version of our Meet an Alum programme with alumni based in China.
Most companies and organisations in China have official accounts on social media sites and advertise positions through them. The main platforms to use are Weibo and WeChat.
Searching for opportunities
If you’re keen to start searching for roles in China whilst you’re in the UK, CareerHub usually has a selection of live vacancies in China – however, it’s a good idea to diversify and use some of the following Chinese job sites to look for roles:
Chinese language job sites
English language job sites
You could also look at the Going Global resource for employment information guides for a range of countries.