China is often described in the news as the top emerging nation and latent superpower. Expats have long been drawn to this burgeoning economy with many opportunities for educated expats in expanding Chinese firms.
However a new survey by the Association of Executive Search Consultants suggests that the Chinese expat job market has become more difficult.
Over half the respondents (53%) reported difficulty gaining access to executive positions in China - the most inhibiting factors being the development of a strong professional network (39%), the language barrier (32%), and employers favouring local talent (29%). Visa difficulties were not seen as a primary obstacle.
The findings also revealed that Wholly Foreign Owned Enterprises (WFOEs) are considered the most attractive organizations to work for in China (83%), over Joint Foreign Domestic Ventures (12%), Domestic Private Enterprises (4%) or State owned Enterprises (1%).
The key reasons cited were that foreign owned Multinational Corporations (MNCs) offer the highest pay, while the management style and corporate culture is closer to international standards and practices. MNCs were also regarded as offering greater global opportunities.
In a comparison of six nations, senior executives ranked China as the fourth highest paying country ahead of Brazil (5th) and India (6th), yet behind the USA (1st), the UK (2nd) and Germany (3rd). Seventy percent of respondents indicated that compensation in China has moderately or significantly increased in competitiveness in the last five years.