Shanghai's expatriate workers have benefited from the city's rebirth and tremendous growth of the past 10 years - profiting from local real estate investments, manufacturing opportunities and market liberalisation. Unlike the Shanghai of the 1920s and 30s, the city is no longer an exotic outpost but a common global workplace, now home to more than 400,000 foreigners. Because of the booming economy, most working expats put in long hours at their jobs - influenced, no doubt, by their live-to-work Shanghainese co-workers. Many high-level managers recruited from abroad don't need to be able to speak Chinese in the workplace and often can't find the time to pick up the local language in the off-hours, although a lot of companies only interview bilingual candidates and certain jobs require Chinese.
Expat benefit packages depend on whether the employee was hired in Shanghai or recruited from abroad, as well as on the particular company, the position, and the employee's home country. An executive in a large multinational who was asked to come to Shanghai will enjoy a generous package including housing allowance, school tuition, pension payments, and medical insurance, among other things.
The job market remains a fast-moving, dynamic one: start-ups offer big responsibilities at the entry level, multinationals grow and change quickly, and local companies provide an invaluable cultural education.
College degrees are required for most jobs, and a top university education opens a lot of doors. Many foreigners find their time in Shanghai allows for more job opportunity and advancement than in other parts of the world. Finding employment is more often than not about who you know, but job classifieds can give you a glimpse of what's out there.
Reading the city's popular job sites for expats is a good place to start: www.shanghaiexpat.com/careers; www.enjoyclassifieds.com; jobs.amcham-shanghai.org; and shanghai.craigslist.com. The print editions of City Weekend, that's Shanghai and SH also have limited classified sections. Recruitment agencies are another option.