How to find a job when you are an the spouse of an expat in Beijing?


If accepting a expatriate position is usually a positive move for your carrier, following your spouse may not always be easy: you will not only have to put your own career in stand-by, but also you will not anymore receive your own income – which may make you feel bad when spending money when shopping for yourself – and last but not least, you will have to find other ways than the professional network to make new connections.

After the “honeymoon” period – which last for a couple of months when discovering your new environment and getting used to your new life in Beijing, spouse may miss her active life.

hire-me-girlHowever, deciding to start over a new job in a new country may have some impact on your family life. Indeed your husband / wife may be very busy with his/her new expat position; most of expat in China travel a lot in China or in the region … and if both parents are working, kids may suffer from the situation.
You will also need to find an ayi you can really trust to take care of your home and family when you are at work.

Here is below a list of things to consider when looking for a job in Beijing for expat’s spouses:

1- Reminder: change your visa!

If you are holding a accompanying family members visa (or Q1 visa), you will need to convert it to a Z visa (working visa). Your employer will have to sponsor your visa application and provide you with the relevant papers and certificates to apply for the Z visa.

You will need to present your original certificates, so don’t let them in your home country! For Z visa, you should be older than 25 years and be able to prove 2 years of working experience in the same industry as your main major.

Learn Chinese will make your life easier to find a job in Beijing

Learn Chinese in Beijng

2- Ability to speak Chinese

Your spouse has been assigned without speaking Chinese and it is not a problem as he/she is usually working for a large company as top executive and his/her Chinese interlocutors will speak English (or his/her mother language)… however it will not be the same requirements for you, as you are already living in China: companies will require you to speak some Chinese – probably not fluently but you should be able to interact with your Chinese colleagues and staff. Therefore a good advise for expat spouses is to first learn Chinese.

3- Transportation

Commuting in Beijing can be a nightmare. When you choose your apartment and if you already know that you will need to find a job, try to understand which kind of jobs could be available at a reasonable distance from your home.

For example,

4- New country… new job industry

For some professions, not being able to speak the local language and sometimes, your diploma not being recognized by the Chinese authorities, if you really want to find a job, you will have to consider new industries.

Many spouses will go for foreign language teaching. However be aware that some schools will require your certificates, such as:

Those certificates can be taken online, but it will require you to spend a few months studying hard to pass the exam! You will then be able to teach your own language in International Schools in Beijing or in Language Schools or offer private language lessons.

Some small companies with foreign management may sometimes be interested by foreigners, mostly for Business Development and Sales positions, as well as management: moving companies, local shops (bakery shops, hair salon, …), health insurances, relocation companies, hotels, restaurants, foreign language speaking travel guide (often part-time jobs available)…

Check also the job offers available on the website of your own Embassy, also Chambers of commerce, those available in the cultural centers (French Institute, Alliance Francaise, Instituto Cervantes, …).

IT job5- Don’t worry if you are…

Finding a job in Beijing will not be difficult if you have an IT background; web developers, designers, application developers, … will find many job opportunities.

Marketing managers are also well on-demand.

6- Working from home

Before moving, you can discuss with your employer and seek for solutions to work at distance. It may not last for years as you may little by little lose the connection with the headquarter. However for some jobs, you can really consider working from home.

Job fair7- Hunting for a job:

Check on social networks like Linkedin or contact head hunting companies. Local magazines websites are also a good source of information such as The Beijinger, CityWeekend, TimeOut, Beijing Parents and Kids… 
Visit also job seekers websites such as Jingjobs, ChinaJob, Matchdragon, JobChina,…

Visit also Expat Job fairs.

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About Marketing

I am living in China since 2007. I am sharing my experiences for other expatriates to make their stay in Beijing more enjoyable. As I am writing this blog for SCOUT Real Estate agency, I am also computing updates about the Real Estate market in Beijing, not only on residential properties, but as well on commercial locals and offices. Hope you enjoy your reading!