Monthly Update: December 2011

Market News

The results from a recently conducted census in Shanghai show that there has been a big increase in foreigners moving to the city for work. The average stay for someone from overseas is 21 months although the survey found that people from South East Asia and Europe (predominantly the UK and Germany) remained in the city for the longest periods. The trend is expected to continue as the local economy continues to grow.

The UK’s opening up of infrastructure projects to foreign investors is expected to attract a lot of interest from Chinese companies. Working through Public Private Partnership (PPP) schemes, Chinese investors are looking to make fast investments as soon as this year.

Developers in China are looking to new online auctions to attract buyers into a slowing market. The plan is for some auctions to start zero yuan to add some impetus to the market. After signing up with a cash deposit, buyers can invest in 3 types of auction: English auctions, in which a property goes to the highest bidder; Dutch auctions, in which the asking price starts at a high point and is then lowered until it is accepted by a participant; and sealed first-price auctions, in which bidders simultaneously submit offers that have been sealed in envelopes and cannot be raised in response to a competitor’s bid. A survey showed recently in China that customers are becoming more accustomed to purchasing property online so it is hoped this new initiative could become a successful model.

Results last month showed that property prices in 4th or 5th tier cities actually maintained solid and robust growth in 2011, bucking the trend of the overall market. Without the central government restrictions imposed on the larger cities, prices were seen to rise in more than 30 cities nationwide.

Poll Result

This month we asked our readers how often they search for job opportunities. The results can be seen below:

One third of respondents said they did not search adverts unless they were actually looking for new opportunities. However, quite a large number of respondents, a total of 40% in fact, said they check job adverts every week or every couple of days. We assume that the ease of job searching in the internet age makes it very easy for people to keep an eye on what’s being posted out there on the web. We were also quite surprised that a relatively large number of people (13%) check adverts every day – does this mean that searching job ads is becoming as common an online activity as checking Facebook statuses and Twitter updates? We would be curious to hear your thoughts.

As always, thank you again for voting – considering it was the Christmas period we had an excellent response with more than 100 votes. Do check back later this month for another poll.

What’s Hot

The run up to Christmas is usually a slightly quieter time with clients having one eye on new starters after the New Year and, more so in Hong Kong and China, after the Chinese New Year. That said, we experienced a consistent flow of new positions coming through from our clients who have been starting to forward plan for early new year hires.

As with last month, we have many architecture and design roles in Hong Kong and across China. If you can speak Mandarin, have worked in China for a couple of years and want to work for strong international names, then we have opportunities available. These range from newly qualified architects through to senior level. Language is the key though and unfortunately candidates based overseas who don’t speak Chinese will continue to find it difficult. In particular we found a greater need for strong designers with a real hands on approach to their work and a want to really be involved in the design process – a few clients have expressed recent concern with the number of people who seem interested in managing a team and delegating work to others. This is not what is wanted so if you are a passionate designer who really wants to get stuck in to projects, we have some great options available.

In interior design, the retail and hotel sectors remain strong. We have some new mandates with hospitality interior design for very experienced team leaders and project management individuals. These are for roles in Hong Kong on China and South East Asia projects. All are luxury 5 star hotel schemes. We also still need more experienced concept corporate designers. Within urban design and landscape, Mandarin speakers are again required for roles across the region but mainly in China – this area is a little quieter at the moment but a few clients plan to grow their teams following Chinese New Year.

In project and design management, we are still having real success placing experienced candidates within our developer clients. Demand remains very strong and we continue to be inundated with interview requests for people. If you have an interest in working for a developer and want to make use of the strong relationships we have built with our clients, please get in touch as we are confident we can find you options! Of course, Mandarin fluency and / or China experience are required for these clients!

Within our engineering business we continue to look for a strong leader for a top international consultancy. This will be a Director level appointment to manage the civil and structural business for the firm in China based out of Shanghai. This is a great leadership opportunity for someone with China experience and the language skills. Candidates have been shortlisted but there is still the chance to interview.

Most Urgent Requirements

We have outlined below the urgent vacancies we have had through from clients over the last month.

  • Architects and Project Architects – China – international architecture practice looking for top design talent
  • Senior Interior Design Leader – Hotel- Hong Kong – top boutique design consultancy with a portfolio of luxury 5 star hotel projects
  • Senior Interior Designers – Hotel/Retail – Hong Kong – top international design firms
  • Senior Architectural Designer – Shanghai – work closely with one of China’s top design directors
  • Urban Designers – Shanghai – variety of roles within a growing award winning design firm. Bilingual candidates only
  • Technical Director Structural/Civil – Shanghai – senior appointment with an international consultancy
  • E&M Project Managers – China – top tier Hong Kong developer looking for top tier talent
  • Senior Project Managers – China – multiple roles in multiple locations for our many developer clients
  • Hospitality Director, Architecture – Shanghai – help develop a new hotel design team within this growing international design practice.

We also have many, many more roles posted on our website and these are only an overview of our top positions at this time. Please check back regularly. The easiest way to stay up to date with our latest positions is to follow us on Twitter.

Please visit our website for more information on the above roles and our other vacancies:

If you wish to enquire about a position please send an email and your CV to

Follow us on Twitter here: Please also subscribe to our blog by filling in the email subscription form on the right to stay up to date with our latest posts, updates and information.


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