How to get a job in Shanghai? A quick guide for everyone, foreigners and Chinese residents

Everyone who wants to get a job in Shanghai needs first to find a job in Shanghai. A good start can be a job website like www.51job.com in Shanghai or Boss Zhipin in Shanghai.

You can look for recruitment agencies or employment agencies in Shanghai. And you can look for jobs also on WeChat or QQ groups in Shanghai.

Once you find a job, you may need a work permit. You can do this from abroad or in China. In most cases, Chinese citizens don’t need a work permit. Every other nationality probably needs to apply for a work permit. You can do this together with your new employer, or employment agency.

Shanghai is one of the most desired destinations in China. It has plenty of job opportunities. Shanghai is China’s largest and most cosmopolitan city. It is a world-class business and career hub. The culture of the city is more western than that of other first-tier Chinese cities. Most people find their work experience and abilities transferable.

Read more below on how to find a job in Shanghai and on how to get a work permit for Shanghai.

How to get a job in Shanghai?

The first step in getting a job in Shanghai is to find a job in Shanghai. Find out where to look for work in Shanghai in the sections below.

Once you have a job offer, you may need to apply for a work permit, or a work visa, together with your employer or on your own. You will not likely need any permit if you are a resident of Shanghai.

In most cases, you apply for a work permit with your new employer, a company, or an employment agency. They will get you a visa to enter the country if you are not in Shanghai already.

Once you have an employer who can sponsor you. You will need to handle together all the paperwork to get you a work permit or a work visa.

First, find a job, and after you’ll worry about a work permit if you need it.

How to find a job in Shanghai?

You can find a job in Shanghai by searching online for job opportunities in Shanghai. You can find a job either with a company, or with a recruitment agency, or through an employment agency.

Most of these websites or apps are in Chinese, so use Google Translate, or any other translation service, if you need it.

Job websites in Shanghai

A good start is to search for a job on these popular job websites.

BaiduGoogleNaverSogouYandex, or any other search engine, can be a good start for a job search. You can search for a job that you want. That can be for example, “Construction worker in Shanghai” or “Babysitter in Shanghai”. Use the language that you feel most comfortable speaking. Don’t stop at the first pages and go deep with your search. You’ll get an immediate feeling of what’s around and of which job websites are best suited for your needs.

Baidu MapsNaver Maps, Google Maps2GIS, or any other map app, can help you find employers near you or abroad. Look for the kind of organization that might have job opportunities for you. You can look for “Retail in Shanghai” or “Mall in Shanghai” for example.

WeChat groups can be useful to find a job in Shanghai. Look for groups that talk about Shanghai or about jobs.

QQ groups can be useful to find a job in Shanghai. Search for groups that talk about Shanghai or about jobs.

www.51job.com in Shanghai is a popular job website in China. It has many job listings in Shanghai.

Zhaopin in Shanghai is an authoritative job-seeking platform in China. It has many job listings in Shanghai as well.

Liepin in Shanghai is another popular job website in China. It has many job listings in Shanghai as well.

Boss Zhipin in Shanghai is another popular job website in China. It has many job listings in Shanghai as well.

Lagou in Shanghai is a job website in China. It has job listings in Shanghai.

Websites to get a job in Shanghai

These are more websites that can be useful when you are looking for a job.

58 in Shanghai is a very popular website of classifieds. It also has job listings.

Kanzhun is about company reviews, salaries, interviews, company benefits, and more.

Jobui is a career search engine. It provides company reviews, job search, salary search and other services. Help you better understand a company.

www.yibys.com provides users with practical job search materials. It talks about workplace etiquette and employment guidance. It has job resumes, cover letters, interview materials, written test materials, and more.

Baidu is one of the most used search engines in China.

Social media groups to get a job in Shanghai

WeChat groups, and QQ groups, help you to connect with people about jobs in Shanghai.

You can use your favorite social media to look for groups that talk about jobs or about Shanghai.

Any social media or communication platform can help you to find a job in Shanghai.

Recruitment agencies in Shanghai

A recruitment agency receives a description for a job from an employer who needs someone. Then the recruitment agency looks for a person to do that job.

Recruitment agencies look for skilled workers to suit the job role available. A skilled worker has some experience, and certifications, to work in a particular role. Examples can be a nurse, an accountant, a chef, a construction worker, or a truck driver.

Recruitment agencies specialize in particular sectors. Those can be care, computing, engineering, nursing, accounting, catering, construction, or other sectors. Sometimes an agency can contact you first if they struggle to find people.

You can look up a recruitment agency that can help you to find a job that matches your skills. You can type ‘recruitment agency in Shanghai’ on Baidu Maps or any other map website. There you can find a list of good agencies that you can contact. If you are not in Shanghai, you can search your area for local recruitment agencies. They can help you find a job in Shanghai.

Recruitment agency in Shanghai on Baidu Maps

Employment agencies, temp agencies, temporary job agencies, staffing agencies in Shanghai

Employment agencies hire people to do jobs. The agency employs you to work for another company. Employment agencies can be temp agencies (temporary job agencies), or staffing agencies. An employment agency registers someone who’s looking for work, a job seeker. The agency then contacts employers who have positions available for the new person.
These agencies can hire new workers for new jobs. Agencies contract those new jobs from other companies. An employment agency will assist any job seeker. Unskilled workers are more likely to find a job with an employment agency. An unskilled worker has no qualifications, or experience, in the job that they want. They have finished school recently, or they are changing industries or they are new to the region.
These agencies specialize in particular sectors. Those can be care, computing, engineering, nursing, accounting, catering, construction, or other sectors. Agencies offer full-time jobs, part-time jobs, temporary jobs, seasonal jobs, or freelance jobs.
If you, for example, type ‘employment agency in Shanghai’ on Baidu Maps, or any other map website. You can find a list of good agencies that you can contact. If you are not Shanghai, you can search your area for local employment agencies. They can help you find a job in Shanghai.

Employment agency in Shanghai on Baidu Maps

Be aware that you should not pay an agency when they find a job for you. So be careful when an agency asks you for money.

Ask around you for jobs in Shanghai

The labor market has a hidden side, particularly when it comes to small and medium businesses. In this instance, networking and social media will be your best friends.
Send out job applications. Change your CV and cover letter to appeal to the company in question.
Form connections, ask around and find opportunities among your contacts. Speak with friends of friends of people who may have traveled or worked in Shanghai. You will see that some of your friends or family know someone who knows someone.

You can email local businesses and companies for jobs in Shanghai

You can search for companies and local businesses in the Shanghai area. An easy tool for doing that can be any map app or map website. Below is, for example, a Baidu Maps search for “cleaning company in Shanghai”.

Cleaning company in Shanghai on Baidu Maps

Walk around Shanghai for possible jobs

If you are in Shanghai, you can explore the area and see what job opportunities are around you. You can look for organizations and businesses around you and visit them. For example, below is a search on Baidu Maps for “market near Shanghai”. You can visit these places asking for job opportunities.

Market near Shanghai on Baidu Maps

Search for employment schemes

You can apply for an employment scheme or an employment support program that can help you to find a job. Those programs can be local or national. They can be open only to Chinese nationals but they can be open to foreigners as well. You need to look for a program that fits your profile. You can search for employment schemes at your local government or embassy. You can search for “China employment scheme” or “Shanghai employment program”.


The top careers for foreigners in China

This is a list of possible jobs for foreigners:

  • Teaching. If you meet a random foreigner walking the streets of any given city in China, they likely are a teacher.
  • Trade/Commerce.
  • IT/Tech.
  • Writing/Media.
  • Marketing.
  • Engineering.
  • Managerial Jobs.
  • Hotels and Tourism.

The above cover image shows somewhere in Shanghai, China. Photo by Ewan Yap on Unsplash