Monday, May 10, 2010


Being in China, it seems to me that local Chinese white-collared workers are almost stuck with their careers once they begin it. When I say that, I mean that it seems difficult to go from a job in finance to a job in marketing. Although there are many skills that can be transferable, it just seems to be something that is very rare. In the States, I always see people move from accounting to marketing or from project manager to sales but not the case in China.

At first glance, people may think that it is due to the fact that China has too many people and companies would rather hire someone with the perfect skill set but in reality, China has a shortage of skilled people and sometimes may need to hire outside the perfect person. I think a big reason that the people in the US are able to change career paths is due to their openness to network with other people. The Chinese do not network as much.

It may be strange to think that considering that guanxi (relationships) is so important in China. However, there are not really networking events that local Chinese people participate in. When I was there, there would be many universities setting up mixers and also having seminars, mostly for people to network and find jobs. However, this concept is new to the local Chinese. They do have job fairs but these are insanely over crowded and you may only have 5-10 minutes to speak to the recruiter in which you barely have a chance to make an impression. They mainly ask, can you speak English, do you know how to do x, y and z. It seems to me that at these recruiting events, they are also looking for the perfect candidates. Maybe its because companies in China do not want to spend the time training. I didn't get much of a training when I went there so its a possibility.

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