3 Trends in the Chinese Labour Market

I’ve received a few requests from subscribers to write about recruitment in China. I thought it makes sense to get on board experts on the topic, so I turned for help to a friend who works at the JLJ Group in their Shanghai office. The JLJ Group assists companies entering the China market, and has expertise in different fields, including Recruitment.

I will be posting three articles with the information they have provided covering the following topics:
1. Trends in the Chinese Labour Market
2. Tips on How to Recruit
Managers for SMEs
3. Tips on How to Retain your Chinese Talent

So today, we will kick off the series with 3 trends on what is happening in the Chinese Labour Market.

Trends in the Chinese Labour Market

1. High Rate of Turnover.
Younger Chinese are very competitive and are always looking for career progression opportunities to better position themselves in the global market. Hence, they tend to welcome headhunters and do not hesitate to take up better offers. This makes it increasingly common for Chinese employees to switch jobs every few years.

2. Increasingly Competitive Salaries.
In 1st tier cities such as Shanghai, Beijing, and Guangzhou, salaries are approaching levels found in more developed countries. The phenomenal economic growth of China has led to a rapid rise in salaries, particularly for managerial and higher positions.

3. Increased Prevalence of Younger Upper Management
Due to the Chinese economic reform in 1978, education standards have improved drastically over the past years. This has resulted in a great disparity in knowledge and capabilities between the young and the old, especially in terms of English competency levels. This situation has thrown off the conventional thinking that senior candidates are always more capable than their younger counterparts. In fact, many directors of corporations in China are only in their early thirties. As a result, highly educated young Chinese are now possible candidates for managerial and higher positions in China, and such positions are no longer necessarily held by senior employees.

Is this your experience? Have you identified other trends?


  1. Chinese Generation-Ys switch job often because they have high expectation. They are the result of China’s one Child policy and the amazing China econmoic growth. Gen-Ys grew up being the center of attentions and being the hope of 2 parents and 4 grandparents. Gen-Ys life has always been better year on year as China improves the country in a double digit rate.

    The key is to recognize this characteristic. You do need to have a career path for your Gen-Y employees. Without one, be perpared to get in touch with your recruiter and repeat the hiring cycle again.