Chinese university graduates confident in Australia’s job market

APAC News 2019 Sydney Career Expo Bank of China

Three thousand Chinese-Australian students attended the Sydney Career Expo meeting with both local and Chinese companies keen to take advantage of their skills

13 October 2019 | Marcus Reubenstein

Despite flat Australian employment numbers, and generally low salary growth, Chinese students and recent university graduates say there are still good opportunities for work in Australia. At a full day careers expo at Sydney’s International Convention Centre, more than 70 companies were looking to recruit. They ranged from small companies to large financial institutions like the Bank of China.

Organised by, business publishing group, AFN Daily the event was promoted by student associations across all of Sydney’s university campuses and through popular social media platform WeChat.

Though the majority of recruiters were Chinese or Chinese-Australian owned companies, quite a number of graduates saw the expo as an opportunity to gain the knowledge and experience that would eventually allow them to employ their Chinese language and culture skills working for Australian or multi-national companies.

Young Chinese people prepared to work their way up

Many of these students are prepared to start on the bottom rung and do the hard work to move up. Fiona Qu from Tianjin in China’s north, has lived in Australia for eleven years, last month completing a master’s degree in Chemical Process Engineering at UNSW.

UNSW Engineering graduate Fiona Qu at the Sydney Career Expo, ICC Darling Harbour

“I just need to take that first step,” she says, “because I am a fast learner and I am really confident. If I have a chance, even with an internship, I think that would work really well.” She is also confident that Australia still has great prospects for young graduates, “There are more opportunities back in China but, because of the size of the population, the job market is also far more competitive.”

Offline” events a better way to assess candidates

Colin Wei from recruitment company, JNW Career, has twenty years of experience living and working in Australia, his advice was in very high demand among the expo’s job seekers. “There is a positive environment created at an event such as this,” he says, “This is an ‘off-line’ event where people have to meet face-to-face and for me, as a recruiter, it is very import to see how candidates present themselves and communicate in person.”

While not every attendee will end up finding their dream job, Wei says expos like these are still valuable, “This event has been very well organised, there are many potential candidates and it’s an opportunity for them to appreciate the culture of businesses looking to recruit and see how representatives of the company conduct themselves.”

APAC News 2019 Sydney Career Expo Colin Wei
Recruiter Colin Wei whose advice was highly sought after at the Sydney Career Expo

Todd Sun, from Qingdao in Shandong Province, has only been in Australia for 18 months. After completing an undergraduate degree in aquaculture in China, he’s now studying for his master’s degree in Marine Science and Management.

For him, Australia not only offers a high-quality education in his area of interest, there are also good job prospects in marine sciences. “There are a lot of coastal management and environmental science career opportunities in Australia,” he says. “In terms of coastal aquaculture infrastructure China has many projects; but China is still developing in the area of coastal management.” For this reason, he believes Australia is the right place to begin his post-graduate working life.  

APAC News 2019 Sydney Career Expo Todd
Post graduate student Todd Sun believes Australia offers great career prospects in his field of marine science

Real Estate presents opportunities as the market recovers

In the past two years, people right across the residential property sales market, particularly in Australia’s two most populous cities, Sydney and Melbourne, have dropped out of the industry. However, one property firm is bucking the trend and is looking to hire more staff.  

Leon Li, from the AZ Group, started his business 13 years ago, facilitating both Chinese investments in Australia property as well as providing advice, immigration and education services to help Chinese migrants settle in Australia. “Our business is still growing, and we need to recruit project managers and property managers.

“The property industry is going through a period of adjustment but that is good for the market as prices cannot continue to rise quickly. Australian governments and the banking industry are taking good steps to reduce the leverage of property investors,” he says.

APAC News 2019 Sydney Career Expo Leon Li
President of AZ Group, Leon Li says now is the best time to recruit staff for the property industry

Li’s overall view is consistent with most Chinese investors who believe the Australian property market will not crash, and the current period of lower prices, combined with a weaker Australian dollar, makes property ownership more accessible for those moving to Australia.

He’s keen to hire, saying this is the best market in which to learn the ropes, “You cannot learn anything if you are coming into the industry when its booming, a real estate company like ours is willing to train new staff and help them grow. Once the market picks up these people will be far more successful.”