September 9th, 2010
12:17 AM GMT
Hong Kong, China (CNN) – Roxanna Blanco was fed up with her job search in the U.S. After sending out resumes for more than a year and coming up empty-handed, the recent graduate from San Diego State University was ready to make a bold move. She decided to leave the country.
"I was having coffee with my mom and I said, 'I think I want to move to China. I think I'm going to China'."
Blanco, 25, got online and started applying for English teaching jobs in China. She got three job offers. She chose a teaching position that paid $24,000 a year in Shenzhen, China. She had no idea where Shenzhen was but was ready for an adventure. Blanco flew to Shenzhen where the culture shock hit immediately. " I didn't leave my hotel room for two days because I was just so scared." She eventually got over her fright to find an apartment and start her job teaching English to a classroom of 30 Chinese toddlers.
Job recruiters in Asia are not surprised to hear stories like Blanco's. The international recruiting firm Hays has seen a 30 percent increase in job applicants looking for work in Hong Kong and mainland China. Most of the applicants are from the U.S., Europe and Australia. The good news is companies are hiring.
Hays Asia Regional Director Emma Charnock says, "We're seeing demand for expatriates spike again in Hong Kong. In Shanghai and Beijing, predominantly it's about Chinese returnees or Mandarin speakers."
According to Hays, employers are looking to hire in these sectors:
1) Banking – Experienced deputy branch managers are needed in first-tier cities such as Beijing and Shanghai.
2) Finance – High demand for finance executives with IT knowledge. Demand for senior tax professionals with strong local government relationships and/or knowledge of Chinese tax system.
3) Engineers - Especially with high-speed rail experience to help with China's high-speed rail initiative.
4) Architects and Urban Planners - China's housing boom and urban sprawl.
5) Teachers - Especially math and science teachers at international schools on the mainland.
Roxanna Blanco is already on her second job in Asia. She now works in Hong Kong at an education center where she's an English language tutor. While she is a little homesick and would like to return to California, she plans to stay in Asia for at least another six months. With unemployment in the U.S. now at 9.6 percent, Blanco says she is just too nervous to test the American job market again.
"I feel like there's so much more opportunity here and I really need to take advantage of that. I think almost every expat or foreigner you talk to here... that's been working... will tell you the same thing: It's kind of scary to go back home . It's too good to leave and they're not going to leave."
About Business 360
CNN International's business anchors and correspondents get to grips with the issues affecting world business, and they want your questions and feedback.