With many Western nations experiencing stagnant economies and high unemployment rates (7.9% in the US, 11.2% in the EU), more foreigners than ever are moving to Mainland China to reside and work, as they perceive its economy outlook and job market to be comparatively rosy. However, China's economy is also changing—transitioning from a producing nation to a consuming one that has millions of increasingly well qualified 20- and 30-year olds seeking employment. For better or worse, these factors (along with many others) subsequently affect employment opportunities for the expat community in China. In light of this, here are several tips that will increase your chance of landing a job and succeeding in China's changing expat job market.
1) Lower your expectations
First and foremost, lower your expectations from China's "expat job market" of 10 years ago. A decade ago, a many foreigners could land a high-paying job quite easily. But now, with the job market shrinking due to increased competition from other foreigners and qualified Chinese alike, such "face jobs"—hiring a prototypical Westerner primarily for their appearance and fluent English—are becoming less appealing, costly and unnecessary for many companies. According to a 2009 China Daily article, Colin Friedman, managing director at China Expert International, said one of the reasons the job market for foreigners is shrinking is because there are more Chinese people with fluent English and lower wage demands to occupy these positions. The same report also quotes Yang Jiameng, spokeswoman for the information center at the State Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs (SAFEA), "In the past, we have had many [expat] job vacancies, but not enough applicants, but that has completely changed now." Simply put, there's just too much competition out there for high paying "face jobs" to remain prevalent.
2) Be willing to work for less money
It's said that expats generally make more than their Chinese colleagues for doing the same job. And while these "inflated" expat salaries don't seem to be significantly dropping or rising, they are however become weaker in real terms, as the cost of living throughout the country continues to climb—likely due to a combination of the Yuan's steady increase agains