wont get hired because of wearing "Hijab"?

Hi all,

i'm thinking to get a job here in Beijing .. if i got good offer i'm going to stay..
i got many interviews appointments after the holidays..
and since i didn't see any of those who is wearing Headscarf "Hijab" here in Beijing,yet .. i feel worry
actually.. i never had bad experience in any country i have been visiting .. but some people was just avoiding me.. and some other was treating me as a nun..  :blink:
but what about employers?? do they will judge me because of it? thinking that  i have extra boundaries or something? :o which i totally don't have any extra limits ..just the normal ones..and i'm very flexible and outgoing person..  :happy:

so,what do u think guys? should i worry about that or no? :whistle:

If you go to interviews with a list of reasons why they won't hire you, they probably won't.  I'd concentrate on the reasons why they should.

HaileyinHongKong :

If you go to interviews with a list of reasons why they won't hire you, they probably won't.  I'd concentrate on the reasons why they should.

Yep. You need to be positive when you go for an interview. What Hailey has said is correct.
Going in with a negative mindset will mean you will not get the job.

China is in fact 56 ethnic groups including a couple of Muslim (the Hui and the Uighur) so your religious belief should not be a problem,

Regarding your dress code it depends on what job you want to get.

If you are working in an office where you do not have to meet clients and only your skills account then I think no problem.

If you need to inter-act with clients then it could be a problem since China is very much a society where looks count (not necessary beauty but appearance). Many examples of non-caucasian Brits, Yanks etc not getting English teaching jobs because they look wrong but the jobs going to Caucasians with poor English because they look right..

I thought it was 52, but I'm going to do something no one on EB has ever done.  I'm going to freely admit that I could be wrong and defer to your experience.

Seriously, you won't get any job for wearing bikini in an Islam country but you expect an international firm hire woman wearing Jilbab in China?

Don't expect anyone will hear you explanation about jilbab, it's just like a monk robe or shinto dress in a non Islam country.

Hailey please see




Unfortunately, China is still quite racist (as are some of the other replies on this thread). When seeing someone with a particular appearance, a whole load of stereotypes automatically follow. Some of them may be good and some not so good. For example, they might assume your are Arab - even if you are not - and thus not a native English speaker but at least Arabs are reasonably well respected in China. They will probably not confuse you with any Chinese ethnic group so you won't get lumbered with those groups stereotypes.

There are quite a large number of Muslims in China. Somewhere around the 1 to 2% of the total population though skewed to the north and especially north west but you will find Muslims in every large city. Muslims are not limited to the various ethnic minorities, a significant number of Han Chinese are Muslim. Most large cities have one or more mosques. There are specialist butchers that sell halal meat and there are Muslim restaurants that serve that clientèle.

However, most Muslims do not wear traditional clothing as per their religion. It is usually impossible to tell what religion someone is without asking. I have seen some Muslims wearing a head scarf and some men wearing a traditional cap but it is not common. Usually only seen in Muslim restaurants, specialist shops or near a mosque rather than everyday street clothes.

So although wearing a hijab will mark you out as a Muslim, not all employers will treat that negatively. In fact, a small percentage of employers may be Muslim themselves and treat it as a positive. All you have to do is have thick enough skin to shrug of the negative people until you find the positive people.

In China, as in every country or place, there is a dress and conduct code which is usually unwritten. In China, Hijab, Niqab, Burka, etc, are not within the accepted dress code, and it does not matter what anyone from outside thinks. That means it is not forbidden to wear such garments, but it seen as inappropriate. Many people, specially in the west, claim that anyone can dress freely as they like, and then I ask them what they think about PNG tribesmen dress. Would they accept it in their neighbourhood? Picture here http://files.abovetopsecret.com/images/ … 69e69e.jpg  I have never seen such garments as Hijab worn by anyone anywhere locally in China. It is accepted that a temporary visitor, foreigner, wear them, but that will effectively most likely exclude you from most or all employment. Even in the Muslim areas of China it is not worn normally, and those very few who like to wear such clothes are usually excluded from official jobs. The practice is discouraged. If you wish to live in any place, anywhere, you need to accept and understand the local dress and code of conduct, or leave. It has nothing to do with religion or racism, it has everything to to with conduct and respect for others.

There are hundreds, maybe 1,500 languages, more than 30 writing systems, add nations and cultures. Officially there are 56 ethnic groups, whereof 55 minorities, but that is a bureaucrats summing up, there are in reality many more, if you ask the different groups. Rather messy.

China is probably one of the least racist countries in the world. This has nothing to do with “race” However, to wear a dress that intimidate and is provocative to others, in the “other” peoples unfettered judgement, is often seen as just racist, and can even be repulsive to some. China had a history of conflicts, with resulting death and disaster. Religious differences were one of the causes. That is why Chinese do not readily choose people who like to wear clothes clearly marking and demonstrating religious belief.

I already believe you.


Maybe nobody told you yet (or you pretend you do not know) that in China there are over 22 millions of Chinese Muslims whose women currently wear the same Hijab as you do. If you really seek for a job in Beijing, much the better you to be worried about your knowledge of the Chinese language, spoken and written.

That is not correct Luke, that there are many Muslims in China is correct, but it is a rare exception to se someone wearing Hijab. Despite that I came to China 35 years ago, and have mainly lived in the western parts where Muslims are commonplace, I have never seen anyone wearing Hijab, except for temporary visitors as tourists. Not even in the predominant Muslim far western parts is it common. Some women in remote areas, as Xinjiang, have recently taken up the habit, but authorities are strongly discouraging it and those women are no longer allowed to work in public service or official positions. The reason for this discouragement is the historical serious conflicts that had its roots in that religious groups used dress as provocations against other religions, as the other perceived it. This has been something serious historically, caused violence, and to take any stand or wear any dress to demonstrate your religious beliefs is therefore today strongly discouraged.

It is rare to see anyone wearing a Hijab in Beijing

I normally only see people wearing in some of the Xinjiang restaurants and/or near the mosques.

Reminder - The Wardaya's question was regarding will it affect her chances of getting a job.

Your reply is not pertinent at all with what I said. Don't you are to say what I said is incorrect if you don't know this country.

[at] Don, not sure how long you have been in China or how well you know China.

I have been living in China since 1998 including 15 months in Xinjiang and living in Beijing since 2003.

I agree with you that Chinese language skills are a great plus in finding a job in China but that is not relevant to the question as to whether wearing a Hijab will adversely effect a Hiring Manager's decision to hire or not to hire.

The question is not the number of Muslims in China.It is not even the number of Muslims in Beijing. The question is regarding the wearing a Hijab and finding employment in Beijing.

Beijing is far from being a small city and it could be a coincidence but I have never seen an office staff wear a Hijab. It could be a coincidence that the only Hijab wearers I have seen is staff of my local Xinjiang restaurant.

If I recall correctly 10 of China's ethnic groups are Muslim. The Hui being just under 50% of the Muslim population and the Uyghur about 40% of the Muslim population. My impression (this is not a scientifically proven fact) is that the Hijab wearers are limited to a small amount of Uyghur. The only Uyghur I have met working in local companies have been male - coincidence?, Maybe .

So back to the question - wont get hired because of wearing "Hijab"? - I think wearing a Hijab will make it harder to find a job but not impossible. The most important will be whether the available skills match the job description.

I am in China since 1986, but this is not pertinent to the topic in hand. What I know is what I have seen and what I have seen is what I said.

If I were in your shoes, I'd try to give a proactive suggestiion to this girl, instead of discoursing about minorities and religion. I just hope you are not propagandizing...

Thanks Don.

Good idea, lets try and stay on topic.

If I understand correctly you are saying that, based on your Beijing experience, wearing a Hijab will not affect a Hiring Manager's decision to hire or not.

I know quite a lot of Headhunters/Recruiters/Executive Search companies and I think I will see a few of them tomorrow (Tuesday 25 Feb). I will try and ask them for their opinions.

Or if not on Tuesday then maybe on Wednesday at the All Chambers event.

It may or may not hurt in finding a job, but it will piss off people online, that's for sure.

China is a corporately racist country.  That's is true. I couldn't find a job for 2 years with leading education and great work experience, depending on my skin color and passport.  However you should still be positive.  After all forget what we all say or think.  Remember the reason you wear a hijab. Be confident and positive, eventually you will get a job. And even if not, remember the same reason that you wear the hijab has something really awesome planned down the road for you.

Ammm hey buddy.  Is there any chance I could send you my resume to pop in one of those friends meetings.  ??? Lol

Frankly speaking,  I doubt a person who couldn't find a job for 2 years and - yet - he believes it is because of his skin colour and passport. Of course I cannot judge, but I can doubt.

Definitely, you have had your own experiences which led you to think that way, and you surely have your own reasons to assert that China is a racist country. I won't question about this.

But I'd like to suggest you a bit  of "self-criticism". Why don't you try to come off of your high horse first? Just forget about your incomparable educational level and about your inestimable working experience. Just think of yourself as a normal man and, mainly, how the others may see you.

If you do so, maybe you will discover that you've just made a bad impression on the people who met you, that is - by the way - exactly the same bad impression that you made on me after I read your writing.

On what visa are you?
if you are expat then u already have some qualification and job
but if you are a student then let me tell you its already diff to get a job as a student
just apply with confident, go and meet U will face  rejection as dont expect to get job in first try
There are many who wear hijab in Beijing/ China
so don't worry
Good Luck with Job hunting

reb123 :

if you are expat then u already have some qualification and job

If only that were true.

so how people on travel visa and dependent visa get job :O :o

Probably by applying at places that are hiring.

so one come on tourist visa than apply for job

Do let us know how did it go

HahAha.  Let me quote " if you had a western passport we could hire you", or " our clients might not feel comfortable with your nationality". Or " since you are not European and cannot go to hongkong and get a new visit visa and need a work visa we cannot hire you". Or " we are sorry but aren't you from a terrorist country".  Just some of then exact comments I had.  And an MBA from ecoles France, an MBA from ecust shanghai, ICAEW( institute of chartered accountants of England and Wales), acca ( association of chartered certified accountants Scotland), bachelors of commerce and bachelors of business administration, 6 years work experience in a home textiles company as a senior project manager. Plus the head of guest relations of one of the most exclusive night clubs in shanghai located on the bund.   Been consulting restaurants and bars since 2012. Which part of my resume should I not be proud of.  Oh  may I add I'm 28 years of age with all these accomplishments.  Deserve to be on a high horse sir.

Thats sad but than this is wild wild world outside :/

Lol ya.  But let's keep this about wardaya.  After all anxiously waiting for her interview.

I've been told I don't have the right passport.  Is that racist?

Hey All .. here i am finally..
i have read ur comments and i really appreciate them all.. even the negative ones.. :)

most of the interviews that i have been through went quite good..
i didn't give "the hijab or if i look different" much attention and i managed how to talk about that.. if some asked or discussed it with me.

i just had to go back to my country to finish some family issues and will be back to Beijing again and will see how it will work with me :)
i do understand and respect anyone who cant accept the differences .. its not a battle or war for me.. its much simpler than this :)
if i got good offer i'll take it.. if i didnt ,its ok :)

Thanks All again :)

I guess.  Since it is separating you into a segment based on where you are from rather than merits.

i'm a Muslim too, i'm from Morocco and currently teaching here in Shenzhen for 4 months, what i think is, China is a country of freedom and every one will treat you with respect i'm talking from experience, so have some confidence the only problem that you might have as me teaching here is with food. so i'm going on a fish diet every single day i mean apart from the weekends, so have some confidence and believe in your skills forget about what about others think, because it is their buiseness. still you can have a job.

no not true, they take your skills and the plus that you are going to provide into account rather than Nationality, but be carefull about the visa, make sure that all the companies or universities you apply to have a SAFEA from Chinese competent authorities :).

it is better to come with a Z visa then have your health check, in case they hire you with a tourist visa or even a buiseness visa and you are teaching it sounds illegal, get your foreign expert certificate and your residence permit by your employers that would be awsome. one more thing make sure your employers have a SAFEA. because bad people are everywhere.

Hey Wardaya

One of my colleagues is a Muslim, she was told by the hiring agent to not mention that she is Muslim. She doesn't wear a Hijab so she hasn't been faced with that problem at least. I was surprised that employers would care what religion she is in China. Well that's here in Guangdong province anyway. It really irritates me that anybody would. I do know that people who do know she is Muslim don't always respect it. She was forced to be involved in the "Christmas decorating committee" which she did so as to not cause waves, I also found this extremely irritating as it was an American who forced her to do it. He was well aware of her religion. I really hope you don't encounter any of these nasty narrow minded people! You have every right to be who you are.

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