Approximately 81,000 foreign experts were employed in Shanghai at the end of 2011, a total encompassing 17 percent of all foreign experts working in China. The total has increased by a third since 2005.
True to its history, Shanghai boasts more officially certified overseas professionals (a category which includes citizens of Hong Kong and Taiwan) than any other city on the mainland, according to the local human resources and social security bureau.
Shanghai Daily reports that certified foreign experts mostly worked in cultural, educational and research sectors, and that the group is merely a fraction of the 200,000 plus foreign nationals living in Shanghai.
And then there’s the special limbo category of sea turtles (Chinese who return from foreign countries, who generally aren’t considered legit foreign experts until they wave their shiny non-Chinese passport around) also throwing their hat in the entrepreneurial ring:
The city is attracting growing numbers of Chinese graduating from overseas institutes and returning to China to begin their careers.
The bureau said there are currently about 95,000 returned Chinese being employed or running their own businesses in Shanghai – up by more than 30,000 from 2005.
Officials said in recent years, Chinese graduates from overseas schools have set up 4,400 companies in Shanghai with investment of US$620 million.
Meanwhile, the transnational overclass of well-traveled white-collar professionals who work in high-income fields like business and finance aren’t being forgotten by the city government. Incentives will be bandied about like so many juicy recession-proof carrots:
The city is also aiming to attract 1,000 more senior professionals from foreign countries over the next five years.
Incentives will include supporting the opening of more international schools in Shanghai, lowering tuitions for children of foreign professionals and cutting visa red tape, officials said.
The government also plans to develop more hospitals accredited by foreign insurers so foreigners working in Shanghai can have local medical bills covered by insurance policies bought overseas.
What it takes to get a job in Shanghai
Though the sort of jobs that help to arrange employees’ housing and their children’s schooling are all well and good, a different sort of job is more pertinent for the economic refugees of the Western World currently reading this blog.
We should probably be offended by the antics of Donnie the Boston Townie, as he introduces kids to athletic saints like Kehvin Gahnett and Rahb Gronkowski, rails against the evil that is Kobe and the Yankees, and introduces all-purpose grammatical modifiers native to the Metro Boston region (“I’m wicked high!”) during his kindergarten English-teaching gig.
Instead, we have to admit, a class full of Shanghai kindergarteners Tebowing at the same time is pretty great, and it’s possibly just as educational as their other coursework.
The truth is that Donnie’s questionable teaching is hardly an exception, and he’ll find out soon that showing inappropriate cartoons, teaching Russian swear words and having class while hungover are all part and parcel of the English-teaching gig, most of which pay between 200-300RMB per hour ($32-$47USD) in Shanghai.
A shanzhai Statue of Liberty at the Pudong Airport (inscription: “Give me your broke, your unemployed/Your feckless masses yearning to be overpaid”) doesn’t exist, and yet Donnie and others like him managed to hear the call and head far, far west over the Pacific for Shanghai, a city on the up and up and up.
Donnie will notice eventually that the unparalleled status and opportunity white American males used to enjoy, before societal sea changes like the Civil Rights movement, Women’s Lib, and changing demographic realities took place, didn’t disappear completely.
Rather, they simply migrated to China (and much of the rest of Asia) where simply showing up, being affable and being white with a college degree is enough to get a decent job giving high-fives and making fun of Plaxico Burress.
Welcome to Shanghai, Donnie. You should also have found out by now that being white and affable will also get you laid wicked often.
But please don’t get it misconstrudeld, and think that we’re trying to shower you with hateration. We honestly believe that any city that’s going to matter economically and culturally on a global scale is going to be filled with creative and enterprising misfits. We count ourselves among their number, yours truly is no exception.
Related: Shanghai to offer plethora of jobs to foreign experts