Can you Work in China Without Knowing Chinese

Inquiring minds want to know: Is it possible to work in China if you don't speak any Chinese at all? Is it possible to get a job in China without knowing the language? The short answer is yes. Even if you don't speak Chinese, it might be a benefit in certain situations.

You're probably asking yourself, "what?" at this point. This is insane! How can I hope to get a job in a new nation if I don't speak the language? It's a no-brainer that anybody coming to (insert favorite English-speaking nation here) would need to know some English!

Many foreign workers in China don't need to know the Chinese language to be hired. According to China Daily, these are the most "urgently required" skills in China right now:

Senior executives working for large multinational corporations

Senior accountants, financial advisors, and architects from some of the world's most prestigious businesses

prominent academics in the fields of science and education who have made major contributions

Celebrities in the arts and sports who have achieved prominence

You have high expectations, don't you? That being said, I'm aware that most of us aren't "seniors" by any stretch of the imagination (except maybe a senior in college). Do new graduates or individuals with fewer than 20 years of experience have the best opportunities for employment?

The ability to communicate in Chinese is not a requirement for these positions. There are several situations when not being able to speak Chinese might really be a benefit. A majority of parents choose to put their children in an English-speaking environment, even if their youngsters have no prior knowledge of the language. There is hence a huge need for instructors who do not know Chinese but do speak English well. Many firms prefer to use an English editor or writer who does not speak Chinese in order to ensure that their work is as "clean," "fluent," and "untainted" as possible.

Because of the increasing demand for English speakers in China, I believe that English should be your first language choice if you want to work there. It's common for Chinese people to communicate in English with foreigners, even if they don't come from a nation where English is the primary language. The fact that English is not your first language doesn't mean you can't work as a part-time private instructor and make more money doing so! There are many Spaniards and Russians that teach English instead of their original languages since it pays more money per hour than any other language. Weird reality, huh?

At least in the views of most companies, the ability to speak Chinese is only a plus.

However, why is it that working in China does not need fluency in Chinese?

The Chinese corporations realize that they can't be too fussy if they actually need international skills. They won't overlook a highly qualified candidate just because he or she does not speak Chinese. Most of these enterprises, schools and firms will already have Chinese staff who are fluent in English, and they will be on hand to assist foreign workers in adapting to their new roles, translating for them, and overall making their lives a lot simpler.

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