Expat job market in China slows due to local talent

Expat job market in China slows due to local talent

Expat job market in China slows due to local talent

China’s reputation as an exotic land of opportunity for aspiring expat professionals has been dented by the recently-released results of a new job market survey.

The poll, undertaken by the Association of Executive Search Consultants, revealed that expat executive positions in the rapidly-growing, emerging nation are becoming far more difficult to land. The reasons given are threefold, citing problems with forming a strong professional network, language difficulties and the emergence of strong challenges by local talent.

The survey, involving company executives at the senior level, reported that 53 per cent of respondents now found it difficult to find employment in China at the executive level. Over a third had problems with developing a professional network, 32 per cent found the language barrier reduced their chances of executive employment and 29 per cent cited rival local talent taking potential expat jobs.

Almost three-quarters of those polled said foreign-born executives now have far less change of gainful employment in China. Many Chinese graduates are choosing Western universities for their MAs and Masters’ degrees, achieving competence in the English language and Western business techniques along with their qualifications.

In addition, more Chinese are taking jobs in the West before returning to China, giving them the experience to cope with executive positions formerly reserved for expats. As a result, a number of those surveyed noticed the narrowing gap between higher-paid expat wages and those of their Chinese counterparts.

A new law requiring foreign workers to pay social welfare taxes and compelling employers to foot a large part of the expense has reduced incentives to employ expats if local executive-level staff can be found. A sizeable percentage of respondents noted that Chinese employers are actively favouring local talent, although top-level executive positions are still being filled by expats.

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