SEPTEMBER 19, 2013 1:20AM

Mid-Life Employment Crisis? Try A China Back Door Job

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mao Its a global problem that is growing by the day.  Over 30 million professionals around the world displaced by the 2008 financial collapse are still feeling the ripple effect in the form of "keep busy jobs" or worse still - unemeployment.  As global unemployment remains high, China continues its boom with the most active job market that now creates 27% of all new jobs in the world.  Economists argue and debate as to how long China can sustain it's record-setting growth, but for those mid-lifers stuck in dead-end job, China has become the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel.

Ray in Chicago, who is too embarassed to provide his last name, is a typical case. He is 38 years old and a former stock broker from Lehman Brothers. Prior to the 2008 fiasco, Ray was doing quite well and earning over $150,000 a year with a lifestyle to match. But it took him 9 months to find a job and with keen competition, the best he could do was as a general manager of an Olive Garden restaurant at one-third his former salary.  With a pregnant wife to support, he did not have the buffer time zone needed to keep looking for something better. He convinced himself that a quick fix was better than nothing.

Fast forward 28 months to January of 2013 and Ray was still stuck at Olive Garden as all the IB, VC, and Banks were focused on hiring new graduates at lower pay scales.  Why hire an experienced guy like Ray for $60,000 - $80,000 when they could hire two news grads for the same money at entry-level positions.


Then one day Ray saw an ad on the internet that said "At CJC we value experience more than diplomas".  He had no clue who posted the ad, but he was curious enough to send in a resume.  Within a day an E-Package arrived in his inbox and at first he was "amused". But as he read, Ray discovered hundreds of people in his shoes were finding good-paying jobs in China through MNC internships. Ray was intrigued and started googling and reading.

The more Ray read, the more he realized that the stereotype of interns - the fresh new graduate was an outdated myth.   Almost 20% of all interns these days are well-educated and degreed professionals in their late 20s to late 30s.  Ray decided that he wanted out of his dead end Olive Garden job and was willing to roll the dice on an international career in the world's fastest growing economy. But to be safe, he sought a 90 day "family emergency leave" from Olive Garden - just in case the internship produced no pay-off for him - he would still have a safety net back home.


Today, after completing a three month internship with Deloitte in China arranged through China Job Central, Ray actually was hired by an MNC client of Deloitte who met Ray through the internship at an audit workshop Ray was assigned to cooridinate. He is still not earning the kind of money he made at Lehman Brothers but  he is earning 67% more than he was at Olive Garden and he is on a fast-track to become a regional manager for Northeast China in 2 more years and at that point he will be earning even more than he was at Lehman Brothers. 

The best part of China MNC internships is that the promotions rates are 37%-43% faster than in the West acrroding to NACE statistics. The downside is that as an intern, you are expected to work for free or in some limited cases for less than $300 a month.  In China it is actually against the law to pay any wages or salaries to an intern. But when companies find an intern they plan to keep on as an employee, they try to cement their bond by offering some "housing or transportation allowance".


Historically the internship to job conversion rate has averaged 38% over the last five years, but HR directors argue that this statistic is misleading since only half of the interns coming to China are actually seeking a new job. In reality, the other half of China interns are university students who are only coming to China because they have to complete an overseas internship in order to complete their post-graduate studies.  China is a safe, fun, and economical internship destination. Taking this into mind the real conversion rate is actually 76%.  Granted there is no guarantee that a China back door intern will get an MNC job in China, but most people in the Eurozone, and North America are quite happy to make the move based on the above odds. Recently the BBC published this interesting article:

In a worst case scenario, an intern who does not prove himself worthy to be hired, at least has a prestigious China entry on their website and during their 90 day stay in China, they had the opportunity to network with hundreds of other expats. Surprisingly, 83% of all interns who come to China, remain in China other than those who must go back home to complete their studies.  China's boom may not continue more than another five years acording to leading economists. Thus timing is critical for those who are now looking East to launch a second or even third career. 

China Job Central also has an executive search division focusing on MNC management placements at the entry and mid-management levels.  A free expackage can be obtained by contacting


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