China’s Financial Industry Recruits Abroad


With the great financial meltdown of 2008 on Wall Street, there are literally thousands of financial professionals seeking full-time employment. Unfortunately, the meltdown hasn’t just hit the U.S., but other major Western European financial capitals. But China’s closed financial sector has been largely shielded from the toxic mortgage-backed securities that brought down most other countries’ financial industry; so much so that Chinese financial institutions are taking this opportunity to recruit experienced financial professionals from abroad. The catch: you need to speak Chinese.

“Despite the swelling number of unemployed financial service employees, those qualified to work for Chinese firms is extremely small. Mr. Leggett’s background in Chinese — he studied Mandarin for four years as an undergraduate student at Columbia — made his move feasible. He has shocked many recruiters with his Chinese ability: “They see a tall, white guy and they’ve got low expectations. When they find out I can say a lot more than ‘hello,’ in Chinese, they begin to take me seriously.” While most Chinese employees of financial institutions can speak English, Chinese is still a must for many recruiters. “We’re looking for bilingual candidates because we are constantly negotiating with local Chinese companies, and those meetings are all in Chinese,” Mr. Hong of the Hina Group said.”

Ironically enough, earlier this week, I met up with a Taiwanese American friend of mine who has own Internet start-up in Beijing, and he was commenting on how he was seeing a lot more foreigners — including former financial services professionals — hanging out in Beijing, hoping to learn Chinese and find a new job. But my friend mirrored the comments made in the article saying that unless they had any language ability, they were screwed. If you’re looking for a job in China, you might want to check out some useful sites like ORIENTED.COM or Wang & Li.

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About John

I'm a Taiwanese-American and was born & raised in Western Massachusetts, went to college in upstate New York, worked in Connecticut, went to grad school in North Carolina and then moved out to the Bay Area in 1999 and have been living here ever since - love the weather and almost everything about the area (except the high cost of housing...)
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