An outline of current international student employment situation and china opportunities

Serving in the higher education industry and working in an association offering study abroad programs; I have witnessed thousands of international students coming to study and intern in China in the past 9 years. I had always been curious about why more and more students from western countries were coming to China and now I have found the key reasons by observing and spending time communicating with them. Please allow me to share my findings below:

1. World economic recession and high rate of unemployment in western countries

The recession of the economy in Europe and the US has caused decrease of production and thus a decrease of the employment rate; graduates with a degree can hardly find a job from the current job market. Report from Hesa says about 9% of those who had finished full-time degrees were out of work in the UK in 2012.

In contrast with the reduced job opportunities, the large expansion in the students attending higher education, or we say over-education has been a common phenomenon in western countries, such as the US, UK and Europe; one of the consequences of over-education is the saturated labor market cannot accommodate the influx of post-expansion graduates.

Alongside the weak economy in western countries, a majority of the recent graduates choose to work in metropolitan cities such as New York and London, which being a magnet to students, there is less job opportunities for the increasing number of graduates

2. The stable growth of China’s economy spares tons of job opportunities and a big demand for western talents

-China has become the world’s second- biggest economy since year 2010.

- Until 2012, EU has been the largest trading partner of China and the biggest resource of China’s import regions; meanwhile, the US has become the largest exporting destiny of China. There is a stable growing trend of investments from China government and local companies in recent years. Till end of 2012, non- financial direct invest in the US from China is $ 1.87 billion, with a 65% increase compared to 2011.

- In some major industries such as finance, marketing, trade, renewable energy, agriculture, town planning, etc, the demand for foreign talents are growing rapidly than ever. The advanced knowledge/ technologies from western countries are urgently needed while the economy grows.

- Some major cities in China are of highly internationalized level, working conditions and living standards are as good as major cities in western countries. Beijing as a capital city of China, has played an important part of world civilization, and an important role in the politics and culture; while Shanghai, the biggest city in China as well as one of the world’s largest cities, is the economic and commercial center of China and the city of fashion and modernity.

- Central government in China encourages fast growing local companies and capital join into the global business, at the mean time, there are a lot policies and conveniences made to attract the foreign investments and professionals to enter to Chinese market, whether it is direct investment or joint ventures. There are more and more large multinational corporations setting their companies and factories in China.

3. A lot of great advantages and a land of opportunities for job seekers from western countries in China.

 a. The advanced education system in the US, UK and Europe has been a great factor to educate a majority of talented students in different industries and majors;

b. Compared to most of the students under the Chinese education system, students from western countries are more independent, confident with a good ability to adapt to work;

c. As the economy in China grows and globalizes, the demand of global industry professionals, talents are growing, foreign students, graduates, work professionals are welcomed to come to China than ever;

d. Foreign talents have the inherent advantages in languages, mother tongue of English or other language will be a great plus compared local Chinese;

e. The familiarity of languages, cultures with your home country or other foreign countries, gives one the ability when it comes to business development from China to other countries;

f. Foreigners absolutely can enjoy the quality life in China, they get a decent salary while everything or most things here are much cheaper compared to the home country;

g. Since China plays a important role in the world economy and you must believe that an experience in China, whether it is an internship or job will definitely be a added value to your future career, whether when you seek for a job opportunity in your home country or remain in China;  It is believed that people aged 20- 30 are in the process of learning from the world, gaining experience is very important at this time period, we have witnessed more and more young talents nowadays are seeking such kinds of opportunities to accumulate fortune needed by coming to China to study, do internships and work.

Join in the movement of global opportunities and jumpstart your career in China.

Helen Hu

Beijing Overseas- Study Service Association