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Expatriados a China: Expat executives pleased with pay, work, study finds

SHANGHAI – Seventy percent of senior foreign executives working in China find their pay has become more globally competitive over the last five years, and almost 90 percent intend to stay in China for more than three years, according to a survey report released by the Association of Executive Search Consultants (AESC) on Monday.

The most attractive aspect of China as a job market is its dynamic high-growth economy driven by a positive outlook, great purchasing power and a fast-paced decision-making/deal-closing culture, the survey found.

“There is an international market for high-end talents, and they flow from one country to another. Countries are fiercely competing for these people. Conditions for foreigners are dramatically improved in China,” said Peter Felix, president of the AESC, a leading retained executive search consulting organization.

Meanwhile, foreigners are looking for jobs in China on the back of its strong economy. “China’s economy is booming, and there is a shortage of talents,” Felix said.

The survey had more than 100 respondents. Of them, 77 percent are working in China, most in leading general management roles, and are earning more than $150,000 annually.

In a comparison of six nations, China was the fourth-highest-paying, ahead of other emerging markets, Brazil (fifth) and India (sixth), yet behind developed economies Germany (third), UK (second) and the US (first).

Fifty-seven percent of respondents said they intend to stay for five or more years, and 32 percent said they intend to stay three to five years.

“We are much impressed by this result. It indicates that the senior executives find working in China enjoyable, interesting and well paid,” Felix said.

Alan, a senior US manager, who just transferred from the US, said his new company, a flavor and perfume maker, offered him the position in China with a higher salary than he had in the US. He declined to give his surname and the name of the company.

“I am satisfied with this opportunity, and I look forward to experiencing a different culture here,” Alan said.

Rajeev Sahai, a senior executive in a shipping company, who has spent three years in Shanghai, said he is satisfied with his pay and plans to stay for another three years, for China “has friendly people, good infrastructure, (and is) half the price of Europe”.

The AESC survey also found challenging aspects of working in China. The main concerns are the language barrier, the lack of transparency in business regulations, corruption, bureaucracy, and pollution.

Figures from the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security showed that 231,700 foreigners were employed in China at the end of 2010, compared with 223,000 in 2009.

He Wei contributed to this story.

China Daily