2017-10-24 05:46:05

As more Chinese students return home from overseas every year, 12 Shanghai universities have joined the fall hiring fray to entice U.S. graduates with teaching and research positions.

From Saturday to Tuesday, a job fair organized by the Shanghai Municipal Education Commission that includes top schools Jiaotong and Fudan is touring universities in America’s northeast. The Shanghai institutes will visit Harvard, Columbia, the University of Pennsylvania, and others, reported state-owned newspaper Wenhui Daily.

“We are hiring for all subjects, with a focus on material science, communication and computer, mechanical engineering, business, and art, which are the key disciplines of [our] school,” Mei Weidong, a staff member at Shanghai University’s human resources department, told Sixth Tone.

“The recruitment is not limited to overseas Chinese students, but is also open to high-level foreign experts,” Lu Qi, the vice director of human resources at Shanghai Jiaotong University, told Wenhui Daily.

Half of the Shanghai schools joining the tour are included in a list of 42 Chinese universities the State Council, China’s cabinet, aims to turn into world-class institutions. The list’s primary goal is to build “first-class faculty” and facilitate the import of “world outstanding talents.”

This is the first time Shanghai has organized such a joint hiring fair, but other local education bureaus have undertaken similar excursions in the past. In October 2016, two universities from Qingdao, led by the education bureau of eastern China’s Shandong province, visited North America and returned with cooperation agreements and preliminary contracts for new professors. And in March of this year, 18 universities from Shaanxi province, northwestern China, visited four cities in the U.S. with nearly a thousand open positions available. One hundred and seventy-three people signed contracts on the spot, and more than 400 signed statements of intent.

The Chinese government supports the recruitment of foreign professionals with policies and subsidies. For example, the Global Experts Recruitment Program, which started in 2008, has so far brought in almost 7,000 high-level talents, each of whom received awards ranging from 500,000 and 1 million yuan ($75,000 to $150,000) from the central government, as well as other benefits such as housing stipends.

While universities in the early years focused on hiring foreign professors with established achievements, they have since opted for younger, greener talents. The Thousand Talents Program for Distinguished Young Scholars, introduced in 2010, is a plan to recruit science and technology researchers younger than 40 who have worked overseas for at least three years.

For some scholars working overseas, restrictions on academia have been a deterrent when it comes to accepting Chinese job offers. Nevertheless, many decide to return home. Chinese going abroad to study every year have traditionally vastly outnumbered those who choose to return — in part due to continuous increases in the growth of students going to the U.S. and other countries. But that gap is narrowing: Last year, 544,500 Chinese went abroad to study, while 432,500 returned.

Editor: Kevin Schoenmakers.

(Header image: A Chinese scientist who earned his Ph.D. at the University of Tokyo works at a laboratory in an industrial park in Langfang, Shandong province, Aug. 24, 2011. Sun Shubao/VCG)