My partner is currently working in Shanghai, China and I am almost certain
to join him out there next year. I have a business degree and am currently
studying for a MA CIPD course, due to be completed in January and I have worked
in HR for three years. Can you give me any ideas as to where I would start
looking for preferably a HR role, or an administrator role in China. I
currently do not have any knowledge of Mandarin.
Peter Sell, joint managing director, DMS Consultancy
Your partner should start making contacts with local organisations to find
out about vacancies and their views on employing UK nationals with no knowledge
of Mandarin. Another avenue to explore is multi-nationals which have a business
presence in Shanghai.
These would be able to give you constructive advice on your options or you
could talk to the CIPD International department.
If you want to think more laterally, you could work from a home base in
Shanghai providing services to businesses in the UK with the use of technology.
John Baker, head of practice, Macmillan Davies Hodes
I assume that you have checked on the relevant employment law for China and
have confirmed you will be allowed to work. China is a fast-growing economy and
is viewed as critical for many western corporations in their development of the
Asian market so there are many western companies setting up and expanding
operations in China.
Directly approaching these companies will give you a clearer idea of the
qualifications and language skills being sought for roles in China. This should
help you ascertain how critical Mandarin is when pursuing opport-unities. I
would stress though that learning the local language will make your time in
China far easier both professionally and socially.
Quite often success is based not just on professional ability but on your
ability to observe the cultural formalities expected in a business and social
Susan Field, senior consultant, Chiumento
Many western enterprises are now establishing joint ventures in China and there
is a demand for expatriates in certain key skill shortage areas. Unfortunately,
your HR experience and qualification has little value given the very different
working culture in China. Coupled with your inability to speak Mandarin, this
means your employability in an HR role, or even an admin position, is limited.
You need to consider improving your employability through some development
activity – learning Mandarin would be a top priority. It is also a good idea to
approach your partner’s employer to ask if they are likely to have any suitable
roles or can assist with your search through network contacts. Once you arrive
in Shanghai, actively network with the expatriate community to identify any