Shanghai skyline: Pearl Tower
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International high school
International high school
A group of teachers discussing their lessons
A job interview at an international school
Shanghai skyline: Shanghai Tower
Shanghai skyline: Shanghai Tower
Leader interview

Mar 5, 2020

How has coronavirus affected recruitment?

The recent COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak has been a source of worry and concern for the whole world, not least for international teachers considering their next job posting.

We’ve received a number of questions from candidates about the coronavirus situation and its effect on recruitment. We thought it might be useful to give a few insights into the changes the outbreak has led to and what the outcomes might be for any teachers who are working in or looking to move to one of our countries.

Will schools in China have loads of new jobs opening due to the virus?

China remains a great place to work and further your career, however, we haven’t seen a massive change in the number of openings. Although it is still difficult to predict, there is speculation that, as with other similar viruses, the onset of summer in the northern hemisphere will see a reduction in coronavirus cases, hopefully contributing to containment by the start of the next school year. Certainly, many cities in China are already seeing a reduction in cases and life is slowly starting to return to normal, with workplaces beginning to open up again and schools preparing to restart classes at the end of the month.

Some teachers, of course, have made plans not to return to their roles in China but this has been balanced out by most international schools putting recruitment on hold as they consider the impact the situation will have on their student enrolment figures. The likely long-term outcome will be a few more openings in bilingual schools and possibly fewer in international ones.

Will this be a good time to negotiate a better salary with a Chinese school?

We suggest that, no, it isn't a good time to negotiate a better salary. Most schools operate on a pretty fixed financial business model and operate a predetermined salary scale, so they are unlikely to make changes to this, both because of the effect this would have financially but also the impact on their current staff.

Is this a good time to apply if I haven’t been able to find a job yet in China?

Yes. The virus has caused a delay in recruitment and lots of key recruitment time was lost during the weeks just after Chinese New Year. As we move later on in the year, schools might be a little more open to interviewing candidates who may not have all of the desired experience.

Schools in China may well be more responsive as recruitment is a high priority for many. Communication, however, may be affected, by schools putting things on hold (see above) or having to work out reopening dates. If this is the case, please feel free to nudge your Explore CRS consultant and, if possible, have patience with principals who have faced a serious managerial challenge this year.

How will the coronavirus affect my current work in China?

Schools are responding with a real range of measures. This hasn’t been an easy time for teachers, who have recently had to prepare and give online classes at crazy hours of the day or in difficult locations. The extended closures after Chinese New Year have certainly not been a break. Some schools have asked teachers to make up lost time and we imagine this will not have been an easy year so far. Our advice would be to keep a sense of perspective, however, as this has been a true one-off.

If you have started a new job, we advise you to stick with it, if possible, as consistency and reliability could open up more options later. With that said, our consultants are here to help when you do decide that you want to find a new position, so get in touch with a CV if you are moving on and we will help from there. 

How will the coronavirus affect jobs in other countries out of China?

This is really hard to say right now, but it seems that at this stage it will become a challenge for most countries. What we have seen is that the majority of schools have taken high levels of precaution to the situation. It’s best to follow their advice and to be as understanding as possible when updates are taking a while to come. We are sure principals will be grateful for all the support they have from their staff and prospective staff.

The current situation will undoubtedly have an effect on the recruitment season and we expect it to be one of the busiest spring to summer periods we have ever had. 

next steps!

If you are looking for a position for August 2020, be sure to check out our jobs search or create a candidate profile. We’ll be happy to assist you during these unprecedented times!

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