Not really planning to stay in China because of professional reasons but still wanted to have at least 1 career coaching session on professional life in China. Just so I could get a feel of what it is about and how it would look like. You never know. Always interesting.
With a Chinese career coach from a local consulting company I discussed a bit the basics of life as an expat in Shanghai.
These are the things I learned:
- Government reduced regulation for Visa’s. Process had become more convenient and less of a barrier.
- Chinese companies in general have international ambitions and therefore want a certain amount of expats.
- Sounds logical but knowledge of Mandarin is not to be underestimated (way less the case in Dubai for example, no need to speak Arabic there).
- You earn up to twice as much as a local Chinese employee.
- Modern companies are less Chinese than you would think; They try to create (read: copy) western corporate cultures and be innovative and stimulating.
- Having a network is very important. Finding jobs doesn’t happen like in Europe where they are nicely listed on the website. It’s more of an ‘American’ system where you have to be referred and know somebody to get in.
- Get used to indirect communication and a lot of strange habits.
Personal take-away: Note ambition no. 1 to work here but wouldn’t mind ending up here for a certain period of time.