What an enhancing way to start the week! On Monday, 28 September 2020, the GMBA office organized a seminar with the topic “Foreign Talent in Taiwan: The Job Market, the Rough with the Smooth”. As the number of GMBA foreign students keeps on increasing each academic year, this is a wonderful opportunity to learn more about Taiwan’s job market and culture. Celia Yang and Yvonne Chen of the GMBA office welcomed and introduced our guest speaker.
The GMBA students who attended the seminar were privileged to have Alan McIvor, a Practice Leader at Paul Wright Group here in Taiwan. He came to Taiwan after finishing his Master’s Degree at the University of St. Andrew’s in 2008. He relocated to Shanghai in 2013 to further his career but decided to return to Taiwan after a couple of years and has experienced working for Bo Le Associates before joining his current company, the Paul Wright Group. The workshop started with the speaker asking the students to introduce themselves and found it very interesting that the GMBA students have very diverse work backgrounds.
The total number of foreigners currently working in Taiwan is approximately 785,341 and according to statistical data, out of the total population of foreign workers, only 65,854 are white-collared workers while the rest are blue-collared workers. A very relevant question was asked by the speaker, “Why is the job market in Taiwan challenging for foreign talent?” Possible factors that he thinks might have affected this are the lack of hiring experience, visa situation, misconceptions in salary, and Taiwan’s colonization history among others. From his sharing, the foreign students came to realize the reality of how hard job hunting will be. But the speaker also gave practical tips and advices which he also used himself when he was starting his career in Taiwan.
For those who plan to stay and work in Taiwan, his number one advice is to learn Chinese. Aspiring to work for a company in Taiwan, whether in a local or foreign company, it is actually self-explanatory why one should learn Chinese even if it’s not in a native level. The speaker shared that in the working culture, it is important that you can be considered as part of the group, and one of the ways to achieve that is to be able to speak the language of your peers. Second, he strongly emphasized the importance of networking as it can open a lot of doors for you. According to the speaker, one of the best ways to get a job in the Taiwan market is through referrals, so the more people you know the better. Another tip that he shared with the students is to improve their curricular vitae by doing online course works, internships, or part-time projects. Fortunately, students can follow and apply the first three of his tips through the GMBA program where foreign students can practice Chinese with their local classmates, attend GMBA’s various networking events, and apply for part-time job opportunities. Lastly, the speaker advised everyone to be more aggressive in job hunting. For him, sending out CVs and waiting for callbacks is a very passive way of looking for a job. To aggressively look for job openings, he shared that aspiring applicants should make direct contacts. Look for HR specialists or managers from the company that you want to work for, add them in LinkedIn, and introduce yourself and giving your elevated pitch through a concise message. He also reminded everyone that rejection is part of job searching and that students must persevere and be creative.
The fun and engaging seminar ended with a Q and A where some students asked about career advices and the speaker answering them honestly and generously. Being aware of the challenges that await students is very helpful to assist them in making proper preparations in their job search journey.
(Written by GMBA student Sheena Lim)