|The 2013 Beijing autumn job fair for returning students was held on Nov 22, attracting 117 domestic enterprises and over 3000 applicants. (Photo/ People's Daily Overseas Edition)|
China's maturing economy is creating enormous job opportunities and attracting more overseas students to return home. We hear many stories about lower-than-expected salary offers to people returning from study abroad - some believe the expectations and demands of these returning students are excessive. However, many returnees are already re-aligning their expectations on the basis that starting salary is of secondary importance to career prospects.
The 2013 Beijing autumn job fair for returning students was held on Nov 22, attracting 117 domestic enterprises and over 3000 applicants. Job seekers and employers confirm that there is a new emerging trend in the job market: many applicants are more realistic and have a more reasonable sense of their own value, while employers are willing to offer attractive benefits to recruit overseas-trained talent.
Mr. Xiao Wei is one of the ‘realistic’ job hunters at the fair. He holds a Masters degree in commerce from the Netherlands and has overseas work experience. When asked about his salary expectations during an interview with an auto company at the job fair, he proposed a discreet figure which the employer considered acceptable. Xiao explained that in the first years after returning to China it is vital to accumulate experience and improve all-round abilities and working skills; he is more concerned about whether a job is relevant to his major and offers promising prospects, rather than the salary.
Fei Fei is a young woman who holds a Master degree in legal science from America and has no work experience. She returned to China six months ago. Like Xiaofei, Fei Fei is also keen to find a job which is related to her major, and agrees that the starting salary is not a priority. It is more important to her that she proves herself worthy of a decent salary through work.
On the other side, the cry of “We need talent” was to be heard from employers at the fair. Many of them are willing to offer the best conditions to attract talent, but they are not finding it easy to find the right person who can meet their job requirements.
Bai Zhangde, chief of the Chinese Service Center for Scholarly Exchange (CSCSE) said that more than half of returning students have majored in economics, finance, or a related commercial specialty - they have put themselves into a very competitive environment. Meanwhile, in China more large-scale enterprises need staff who are specialized in new materials, new energy, and environmental protection. There is an imbalance in supply and demand in the job market resulting in returnees complaining that there are no jobs for them, while employers struggle to find people who can meet their requirements. Bai suggested overseas students should consider their future career when choosing majors; restricting their focus to today's "hot subjects" is not a smart decision.
Those responsible for recruitment from the employer side consider that returning students have good personalities and decent communication skills.
Zhang Xiaotang, chief of HR from Beijing Technology and Business University commented that they receive many CVs from applicants coming back from various countries, such the UK, the US, Australia, Japan and others. “We welcome people with different backgrounds to join us.” He suggested people who have just returned to China need to adapt to a new environment.
Although many overseas-educated student have advantages in understanding the international way of thinking and have global vision, once they come back to China it is important that they reacquaint themselves with China and adapt themselves to society and to current career requirements.