UK job fair connects employers with China talents

Updated: 2013-06-28 21:08

By Susanna Ma and Zhang Chunyan (

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A recruitment fair was held to connect British companies to job seekers with China-related skills in London this week.

The venue brought together 20 companies with China strategies and more than 250 job seekers, a mixture of both Chinese and British nationals. Some were experienced professionals, and most were graduates.

Chopstick Club, a network of China-related professionals, piloted the idea and organized the event.

“This event is to support our young people who are hungry to find work by bringing companies who have needs for China skill talents to drive their business growth, and individuals who have the right skills set to achieve it,” said H-J Colston, director of Chopstick Club.

She added: “We want to reinforce the 21st century reality that China is a must-have market for all companies wishing to compete globally as well as stimulate growth in Europe.”

With the economic rise of China, employers – both in China and elsewhere – are increasingly looking for managers who speak both Mandarin and English if they want to achieve international expansion.

David Gee, career consultant of gradlinkUK, believes Mandarin skills are a real asset for Chinese graduates overseas.

“Large employers who have a strong focus on China can take UK-educated Chinese students, who have understandings of both the UK and Chinese markets, and can really become bridges between the two,” said David.

Dyson is a British technology company which started its business in China in 2012. The company is looking to establish an office in Shanghai and recruiting people with marketing experience.

“Our business is going very well in China. Right now we are looking to have experts in China to get the company initially set up. In the future we may look for fresh graduates,” said Isobel Davis, the HR Manager of Dyson.

Zhao Bin, a Chinese student who will soon finish her masters program at the University of Essex came to the job fair with hopes of getting a job.

“I think the international working experience is very valuable, and I am not picky about jobs as long as there is a company that is willing to hire me,” said Zhao.

In China, the employment situation is tougher, as there are seven million fresh graduates this year competing for limited work placements.

Fu Yao, another UK-educated Chinese graduate, is concerned about the sponsorship issues of employment, as she believes it’s very difficult for foreigners like her to get sponsored to work in the UK.

David Gee said all large employers are sponsors. “The problem for Chinese graduates in the UK is that they have to get formal certifications of jobs before their visa expires, which is about four months after graduation.”

British nationals who have China-related skills are also looking for potential employers. Andrew Lee is now pursuing his PhD degree. He has been learning Mandarin for 6 years and lived in south China for a year.

“I am thinking of moving to China in the future. I’ve been trying to get back there since I left,” said Andrew.