Shanghai frequently tops the list of the most desirable destinations for expats in China — in no small part thanks to the number of work options available in the city. Shanghai is the largest and most cosmopolitan in China and a world-class harbour of business and career opportunities. With the city’s culture being much more western than that in other first-tier cities in China, most expats find their work experience and skills easily transferable.

The city is also well-liked by the foreign community for offering an abundance of Western amenities: a large number of international schools, expat societies, western restaurants, and a vibrant nightlife.

So, how do you go about finding a job in Shanghai? Find out in this article.

Searching for a job in Shanghai

There are two main pathways to lending a position in the city: you can either do it from your home country or look for a job on the spot.

Most foreigners working in the city on the so-called ‘expat packages’ are managers, CEOs, projects leaders, etc. who have been recruited from their home countries or transferred by the companies they work for. There are definite advantages to this arrangement as you would typically get a higher salary, house allowance, a local personal assistant, health insurance and other perks ‘ all of which will make the transition to living on another country much more comfortable.

Alternatively, you can look for a job once you are already in Shanghai ‘ which requires a bit of preparation but is not especially difficult. There are a number of fields where expat professionals are in demand. These include sales, advertising and marketing, financial and business sectors, B&R, hospitality, and more.

Job search resources

If you want to look for a position before arriving in Shanghai, you could get in touch with one of the many headhunting agencies that specialize in recruiting foreigners to work in China. There are also agencies that work specifically in teacher recruitment. Alternatively, you can get in touch with potential employers directly and send out emails with your CV and cover letter to international or local companies, schools, and universities located in Shanghai.

If you are starting your job search on the spot, Shanghai job search websites and newspaper classifieds are an excellent place to start. You could even go a step further and post your CV online.

You can also go ahead and contact companies you are interested in directly by sending out spontaneous emails or getting in touch with their representatives and HR departments.

Shanghai is home to several large headhunting agencies like Michael Page, which can also be a useful source of career opportunities.

Networking can go a long way in Shanghai as well as the rest of China. Building up your contacts (the so-called ‘guanxi’) will be an essential step in advancing your career ‘ this includes attending professional meetups, fairs, etc. There are also a number of expat and professional organizations Shanghai that would be a good place to start.

Social media networking is also a powerful job hunting tool. Note that China uses different social media than most western countries and you will need to master the use of QQ, Wechat and other local programs. Linkedin remains a popular platform for professional networking and it’s best to keep your profile updated with your experience and change your current location to Shanghai to potentially get offers.

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