The Chinese Job Market

December 2012

Global mobility is a big deal at the moment. So off we went to an event on the Chinese Job Market, organised by the British Council Beijing office and hosted in London.  Interestingly the event was aimed at giving information on Chinese students who have been studying in the UK and are returning home, as well as UK students who may be interested in working in China in the future.

Speakers included:

The HR Director of Microsoft China

Senior Director of HP University

Senior HR Director of

Senior Manager of HR & Organisational Development for Epsom, Greater China

Many employers said that the strengths of UK educated graduates were:

  • English Language skills
  • Leadership potential
  • Communications skills
  • International perspective
  • Creative thinking

They also commented that the weak points of UK educated graduates were as follows:

  • Lack of local knowledge
  • Higher expectations than local graduates in terms of salary, etc
  • Team work can sometimes be an issue

They also said that Chinese graduates returning to China, after studying in the UK needed to concentrate on the following:

  • Developing a positive attitude
  • Having a clear career plan
  • Be capable of handling stress and working in a high pressure environment
  • Be a fast learner
  • Focus on results rather than processes

Graduate statistics

  • 7 million Chinese students will graduate in 2012.
  • 30% of them want to work for state owned organisations, as it’s safer and more secure
  • Many graduates want to live in ‘Tier 1’ cities, of which there are only 4.
  • Only 20% want to go to ‘Tier 2’ cities, of which there are around 25.
  • Hardly any Chinese graduates want to ‘go West’.

The Chinese Job Market 

black and white science worksheets

Photo courtesty of @M. Kemal on Flickr

95% of UK educated Chinese alumni who are registered with the British Council found a job within 6 months.  Right now in China, there are more jobs than graduates.  Employers are beginning to say that it is difficult to find the right person.  Most graduates end up working in IT/Business and Engineering and most work for multi-national corporations.

The alumni network of the British Council in China has over 30,000 members and they run professional networking events and career development events.

The IT industry in China.

close up of computer keyboard

Photo courtesy of @Marc Di Luzio on Flickr

They said that there is huge demand for talent in the Chinese Internet industry. Tencent, one of the main companies, hire 1,500 new graduates every year. They also said that the smaller companies are growing even faster.


Benefits and challenges of Working for a Privately Owned Company


  • Larger platform to develop a career from
  • High performance driven culture
  • Communication environment is very straightforward


  • Management style can be very direct
  • Processes are not defined
  • There is a lot of peer pressure

Generation UK 

Generation UK is a new programme being supported by the British Council to encourage outward mobility.  This would involve UK/British students being offered a 2-3 month internship and 1 month of language study.  British Council hope to rol; this programme out by March 2013.

For more information, and to access the presentations please click here.


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