On Friday (not so unlucky) 13th, I was sent to a conference at Senate House to aid with my project of writing guides for international students who are thinking of returning to their home country after they have graduated from Queen Mary. The Association of Graduate Careers Advisory Services (AGCAS) and The British Council helped to shed some light on how to increase job search support for Chinese students currently studying in the UK but returning to China for work. For me, these were the top five points that I took away from the afternoon:
Returnees have a distinct advantage – but brush up on your knowledge of the Chinese job market.
Chinese employers consider the following attributes particularly advantageous if you have studied in the UK:
- A high level of fluency in the English language
- Experience of the international world and understanding of cross-cultures
- Ability to create and maintain international networks
- UK universities are more internationally renowned
However, those who have studied in the UK may have less experience in Chinese industry and less knowledge of Chinese investment and finance than domestic students. This can be remedied by getting the relevant experience through internships and research in your degree.
Finance, Government and Politics and IT are the most common industries for returnees to enter into.
These are the top three most popular industries for returnees to enter into, with Cultural Creative Design and Education and Scientific Research coming in at fourth and fifth.
The IT industry is currently going through an unprecedented technological change. In particular, the e-commerce market has drastically expanded, with nearly a 50% increase in its market size over the last 2 years. Investment in start-up businesses in the mobile internet industry has also increased since 2013.
There are other locations than just Beijing and Shanghai.
Although the majority of returnees relocate to ‘The Big 4’ (Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen), second tier cities have also benefited from China’s economic growth. As a result of this, second tier cities are becoming more and more attractive for graduates as they hold similar opportunities but with much lower living costs.
Hone your CV and interview technique.
- Make sure your CV and cover letter are tailored to the position and company that you are applying for.
- Research the company and industry and state what you want to achieve from it.
- Highlight any relevant experience you may have, such as internships and any research you may have focused on in your degree.
- Emphasise any other transferable skills you may have, with evidence of where you have got that skill, such as passion, innovation, learning capacity, interpersonal skills, problem solving and time management.
Have an idea for a business venture? You can always start one.
Entrepreneurship has faced a boom in China over recent years, especially after the development of mobile internet. Financing for all stages of a business has become more accessible, particularly with an increase in Angel Investment in the last 2 years for business ventures. Enterprise is more of a culture in China, and these are the main features you should focus on:
- Have a strong team
- Have an attractive product
- Have a clear business model, including revenue opportunity
- Consider the size of the market, incorporating sales volume and possible users
- A healthy cash flow, covering between 6-18 months
- A healthy shareholder structure
- Understanding of financing
If you’re developing a product in the UK, make sure that it is tailored to Chinese consumers and that you have a strong understand of the Chinese market.