In 2015 uni grads have many options available to them, and choosing an international internship in China is still a popular choice, despite the horrid pollution and abundance of scams. Indeed, China is the world’s number two economy and creates about 1 in every 5 jobs in the world today. Promotions in China are on average, 30% faster than in the West, so accelerated career growth in China is very appealing to new professional job seekers. But if you have no university degree, China does not want you, and will not even give you a work visa. China is still hungry for foreign-speaking and educated career professionals. If you are willing to learn Chinese, you have a lucrative career awaiting you in The Middle Kingdom!
All internships are not created equal however, and China Career Center has been tracking them for the last five years as part of a Peking University HR student study. Based on feedback of roughly 500 interns in 2014, here is how the internships ranked in terms of intern satisfaction levels in five categories; 1) Interns’s Acquired Knowledge & Skills, 2) Work Environment, 3) Intern Management, 4) intern Workload, and 5) Post-Internship Opportunities. Keep in mind, only the top 10 are rated here as chosen “Best Overall” by the international interns with a +/- 2% margin of error allowed;
Fully a third of the “others” were comprised of 27 other international companies like IBM, Lenovo, Intel, Microsoft, General Electric, Hilton Hotel Group, Reuters, Procter & Gamble, and BBC (which just missed the top 10 cut-off) but rounded-off the top 20 list. In 2014, a full 28% of interns received job offers following their internships and 86% of the offers were accepted. More than 200 international MNC companies offer internships in China and almost 500 SMEs hunt for them as well. Interns in China work long hours – typically 10 to 12 hours per day, but most do not complain because their on-the-job training gives them a real-life learning experience. Exposure to the Chinese culture is also a key benefit of internships as learning to work, deal, and negotiate with Chinese is a skilled art that takes months to develop and years to perfect.
Finance internships are still the most coveted and the most difficult to come by since internships who go on to take jobs with their sponsor in the finance industry enjoy and average starting salary of $57,000 per annum versus a $43,000 average in the other internship professions. The least desirable internships, as always remain the teaching internships, of which more than half have been reported to be frauds, with more than fifty listed at Scam.com on the “China’s Liar List.” and blacklisted by the China Foreign Teachers Union.
Speaking of frauds, there are a dozen private “China Internship Companies” based in China, the U.K.. and U.S. that need to be avoided. Referred to as the “Dirty Dozen” by HR Directors across China, they cause a lot of problems and tarnish the concept of legitimate China job internships, even though it is their internships that are the most heavily promoted and advertised at Milkround, Just Landed, Indeed, Craigslist, etc. .Although they may be operating within the gray areas of Chinese law, they charge huge fees for internship placements with barely-known companies that have historically abused and exploited their interns, with less than 3% of them receiving any legitimate job offers. They typically are unpaid internships, but a handful may pay a small stipend that barely will cover the cost of meals for your 90 day stay. These companies are known for spamming ads all over the internet, smooth-talking sales reps, and very credible-looking websites full of great testimonials and links to “independent reviews” that are basically paid advertorials. Some have even obtained write-ups in one or two large newspapers by committing to advertising contracts or bribing reporters. Don’t be fooled. The only legitimate China internships are obtained directly from the the HR offices of the actual direct employers. If you believe otherwise, you will join the 500+ victims every month who scream “Scam!” and demand a refund. To obtain your own blacklist of China internships merely go to Google and search the key words of “China Internship Scams” or “China Job Scams”. You can also request a copy by sending an email to admin@ChinaCareerCenter.org
In closing you should be aware of Chinese laws as they relate to internships. Following some major visa law changes in 2013, you can no longer work as an unpaid intern in China unless you are part of an accredited university student exchange program. Otherwise you must be paid a minimum of 2,000 yuan per month (roughly $350usd). Also, China internships cannot exceed 90 days (3 months) in duration, and you cannot undertake an internship on an L or X visa. No matter where in the world you choose to pursue an international internship, prepare for the unexpected, keep an open mind, and bring an extra $1,500 cash with you since your native credit cards probably won’t work in China. If you find yourself unhappy with your housing arrangements or just want to go home, that extra cash will come in handy. Do not expect the same comforts and conveniences as home, but be prepared to be amazed at what China brings to the world – friendly people, a great selection of tasty foods, and incredible historical sites that will knock your socks off! Bon voyage!