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Speak an Asian Language? You've Got Options

This is a good time for financial professionals who are fluent in Chinese, Japanese or other Asian languages.

Why? Consider: Big Japanese banks may pump billions of dollars into struggling Wall Street firms, says the Times of London. The trade deficit with China continues to break records and Chinese markets attract U.S. investors worried about volatile stocks. South Korea's economy continues to be strong, as is Taiwan's.

Though there are openings in the San Francisco area, there also are opportunities in New York from both U.S. and Asian firms. Conversely, there also is a demand for candidates in Asia as well, recruiters say.

"We have had difficulties in the States finding bilingual candidates, but it has gotten better," says Andy Hsu, a manager at recruiter Michael Page International in New York. "The only way we can find quality bilingual candidates is through a lot of referrals."

Though being fluent in Asian languages is a plus, it isn't a necessity to get hired by Asian firms since Japanese and Chinese are among the most difficult languages for native English speakers to learn. Ames Gross, president of Pacific Bridge, a recruiting firm specializing in Asia, points out it takes 10 years to become fluent in Chinese.

But candidates looking to work for Asian firms, or firms doing business there, should familiarize themselves with Asian culture and business customs. "Otherwise, the candidate will not succeed," says Bob Kobayashi, a senior partner with Nosal Partners, LLC., a San Francisco-based recruiting firm.

Working overseas may be the ticket for adventurous types or foreign nationals who want to return home. The appeal is understandable: While the U.S. teeters on the brink of recession, China's economy expanded more than 11 percent for the fourth straight quarter, says Bloomberg News. Japan's economy continues to expand, as well, though growth is moderating.

"When you have this kind of growth, more and more people are interested in working in the industry in China, Hong Kong and Singapore," observes Gross.

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AUTHORJonathan Berr Insider Comment
  • rv
    rvanboerum
    9 July 2009

    I have lived in Asia where I learned Mandarin.
    I would like to couple that with my banking experience in seeking a new position.

    What is the bet way to make contact with the Asian companies needing people with my qualifications?

    I am willing to relocate.

    Any suggestions?

  • Je
    Jean
    10 June 2008

    Hi there--I am looking to relocate to Japan as soon as possible. I have two years experience of Supervisor jobs, two years of Management jobs and two years of Hedge fund experience jobs, two years of Tax experience and 9 years of customer service experience. I am eligible to work in Japan for any employer. I speak and write good Creole, English, fluent French, moderate Spanish. I am looking to work as an investment accounting. if you know a company who wants investment accounting, please help.

  • Lo
    Louise An
    3 March 2008

    I work in consulting and HR management industry and I find that there are many bilingual candidates prefer not to work in home countries but they hardly find to find decent jobs in the UK. Many UK companies regard Chinese speaking graduates just a small secretary, coordinator or even an assistant -- even they have Master degree and have good working experiences.

  • Lo
    Louise An
    3 March 2008

    I think Michael Page has to define : what is your standard of good bilingual candidates?UK government provides a pendulous and unpredictable regulations to high skilled bilingual people from Greater China. But give a wide open door to low skilled people from EU. And the policy to high skilled people is highly restricted. So, how can international/ local firms can get a good bilingual candidate? And some UK firms don't like to hire bilingual candidates because UK government may reject to issue their working visa extension. It's chicken and egg problems. I hope UK government can look at how and why Canadian's regulation can attract high skilled imgrants move to their country. And encourge UK firms to hire good and legal bilingual candidates definitely can increase the business between UK and Greater China market.

  • Jo
    Jon Jacobs
    12 February 2008

    Sarah and avani: Who is the "you" that's addressed in your comment, when you asked, "let me know if you have good opportunities"? Is it one or another of the people who posted comments earlier in this thread? Or, is it one of the expert sources quoted in the above article? Or a headhunter or other eFC user who might happen to read this page? You weren't referring to the eFC staff, I hope? (We are a publisher, not a recruiting firm.) No matter who you were appealing to, you cannot possibly reach them in this way. Instead of requiring anyone who might be interested in your background to post their own contact information here - which would be their only possible way of reaching you - you would be much wiser to post your resume on eFC. DON'T TRY TO POST IT HERE on this page. Instead, use the "Post Your Resume" link at upper left, and register as an eFC user, if you haven't already. (See my previous comment in this thread.)

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