Top Challenge for Foreign Companies in China: Human Resources Constraints

If you have been reading this blog you will already be familiar with some of the findings from the AmCham Shanghai survey “China Business Report 2010-2011”. The US companies interviewed reported “human resources constraints” or the difficulty to recruit qualified staff  as the number one challenge they face (and it has been at the top of the list since 2006) (see other challenges here). The topic was obviously raised during the panel discussion that followed the survey presentation, and some interesting trends and insights were shared with the attendees:
1.- Everybody is competing for the same talent:
a) talent quality coming out from university is better than ever, but competition to get it is also fierce
b) competition to recruit top talent is coming not only from other foreign companies but also from private Chinese companies and state-owned enterprises (SOEs)
c) domestic companies are “replicating” some of the western formulas that make an employer attractive, like moving their offices to prime real estate so that they make the setting more attractive to top talent (1)
2.- There has been an evolution in the type of talent that is lacking: in 2001 there was a lack of professionals, in 2005 a lack of managers and 2011 sees a lack of executives (2)
3.- It is difficult to motivate Chinese talent (the executives we mention in the previous point) to move out of China in order to expand their “non Chinese experience”. They actually prefer to stay in China (2)

Some of the suggested tips to deal with these issues included:
– Quality working environment
– China specific culture
– Recognizing top employees
– Developing a “company brand”, not just a product brand, to become a more attractive work place

What is your experience recruiting local talent?

If you are interested in reading more about human resources in China, you can also check these links:
* 3 Trends in the Chinese Labour Market
* 5 Recruitment Tips for Entrepreneurs in China
* 7 Tips on How to Recruit Managers for SMEs in China
* HR in China: “Accept what you’ve got and model them into what you expect them to be”
* Retaining your Chinese Employee
* 6 Tips on How to Retain your Chinese Talent
* China Stories: Trustworthy Employee… Please, Don’t Go!

(1) Quoting Mr. Michael Klibaner, National Research Director, Jones Lang LaSalle China
(2) Quoting Mr. Pierre Cohade, President, Asia Pacific Region, Goodyear Tire Management Co

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