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Just the Job

Right now there is no shortage of foreigners streaming into China, many looking for a slice of the action in a country that is offering more opportunities than anywhere else on the planet.
While many foreigners enter the country already employed by large corporations and teaching organizations, many look to change jobs once already here.
In order to offer another avenue for international talent exchange and improve services to foreigners coming to work in China, the concept of a foreigners’ job fair was introduced in Beijing earlier this year.
The first and second such fairs were held on January 11 and April 23 at the Beijing Friendship Hotel. As the first fair received scant publicity, only about 100 foreign job seekers attended. But more than 200 turned up for the second fair from 28 countries. The 23 Chinese employers there signed over 120 contracts.
The third job fair in the series, and by far the biggest, was held on November 5 at the Swissotel Beijing Hong Kong Macao Center, with more than 400 foreign job seekers coming through the doors.
Sponsored by the State Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs and organized by the China Association for International Exchange of Personnel and, the fair is aimed at both job hunters and employers. Companies present were pleased to see this kind of platform offered to meet their urgent need of international skills, especially foreign teachers.
While the fair began at 9 a.m., many eager job seekers waited in line from earlier on, with a steady flow of people through to the afternoon. People from the United States, Britain, Canada, Germany, Japan, Australia, Italy, France, Russia, Argentina and South Africa turned up to talk to more than 50 Chinese employers from across the country in attendance.
Although the first two fairs were dominated by employers from schools or language training organizations, the third fair included options such as media, including China Radio International and Beijing Review, and local employers seeking translators and other professionals.
Shanxi was well represented, with six booths from different cities. Yue Ding’an, Director of Shanxi Overseas Talent Service Center, said during Shanxi’s industrial restructuring, more international skills would be needed, covering professions including translators, technical personnel in biopharmaceuticals and manufacturing, and consultants in tourism and some other industries.
He said more than 2,200 posts were available and his contingent had high expectations of finding the people they needed.
According to Yue, the number of positions was high as it was his intention to create a talent pool for future use. He expected the size of the fair to be enlarged as its popularity grew.
Marln Miranda from the Philippines said it was the second time he had attended the fair and it was an improvement on the last one, with a bigger variety of options. He added that opportunities in China were plentiful and he wanted to combine employment with his interest in Chinese culture.
Robert Tsao, a Chinese American, was on his first visit to China and hoped to find a teaching job or something in the media. Several Chinese citizens of other countries and Chinese who had been studying abroad are now using the fair to utilize the skills learnt outside back in China.
Zhong Yanguang, Director of the China Net for International Talent, expressed that the fair is designed to offer an opportunity for face-to-face communication between Chinese employers and foreign job hunters. He said both employers and job hunters enjoy the direct approach the fair offers.
As an increasing number of foreigners are staying in China longer, most of them need a job, and more Chinese employers need foreign skills for specific job categories. The platform the fair provides for exchanging bulk information is therefore unique. It also eliminates the risk involving disqualified intermediary organizations, which may lead to legal problems with employers and employees further down the line.
Zhong Yanguang said foreign language teachers, especially in English, are still the greatest need among all posts. On many occasions the employers cannot find satisfactory teachers and many foreigners are not willing to work because of the allegedly low salary. However, Zhong argued the salaries most of the employers at the fair offered are ample for a comfortable life in China. He admitted salaries for these positions would obviously be low when compared with those in developed countries.
The organizers have confirmed that the fair will be held at least once every year and the next session will be held in late April or early June next year. The times will be decided by the need. They think it’s also possible to expand the fair to Shanghai and Guangzhou, and even other big cities with large foreign populations.

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