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China 3 Major Changes in the Ways of Recruitment

Talent Spot has the privilege and opportunity of providing professional HR services to our clients through more than 10 years. From one office in Shanghai, we have quickly grown more than 100 offices over mainland China. 

With more than 10 years experiences in Mainland China for recruitment services, we have observed many changes in the ways of recruitment no matter for it is for people or businesses. Here are the three biggest changes we have seen over the past 10 years. 

Change 1: Greater focus on career versus compensation

People in China are increasingly focused on developing their career and personal skills. Eight years ago, the vast majority of our candidates were very focused on getting a higher salary and a bigger job title. Whilst that is still undoubtedly important, now there is so much more interest in learning and development, picking up new skills and staying that bit longer in a company to develop those areas. The best businesses are realizing this and implementing genuinely strong development programmes for their staff at all levels. Our clients are also becoming tougher in dealing with candidates or employees whose main focus is money or titles. We have seen many companies pass over demanding candidates with high salary expectations or a jumpy CV in favour of those who have demonstrated a clear ability and willingness to learn.

Change 2: China's pace of progress is (still) mind-boggling

We all know about China's rapid progress. Six years ago, I was involved in setting up our Suzhou office. Construction began in a then up-and-coming but chaotic business district, with lots of buildings in various stages of being built and very few people around.

Fast forward to a few weeks ago, I visited the same area again and the transformation has just been phenomenal. This district of Suzhou is now a modern, cosmopolitan part of the city, buzzing with activity and has a vibe and working atmosphere akin to Shanghai or Hong Kong, complete with brand new skyscrapers, luxury hotels, trendy shops and restaurants. Even after working in China for the past eight years and witnessing relatively slower economic growth, I still feel the overall pace of change is mind-boggling.

Change 3: Rapid rise of domestic companies

Eight years ago, multinational companies (MNCs) were very ambitious and aggressive within China. Economic conditions were tough back in their home countries so China represented the real growth opportunity. At the same time domestic companies were very much seen as the poor cousin. Very few graduates, let alone experienced professionals, wanted to work for local firms. In fact, many of our own consultants were reluctant to take on assignments with domestic companies, either due to challenges in the recruitment process or the perceived lack of prestige of working with such clients.

But the change just in the last two to three years has been dramatic.

MNCs have become much more cautious, almost defensive in their approach, as the reality of making a business truly successful and profitable in China has become clear. At the same time, local companies have gone the opposite way, becoming more aggressive and more ambitious -- almost a 100 per cent turnaround. Domestic companies are now more confident in the future, more forward-thinking, more innovative. This means they are a lot more attractive for graduates and experienced professionals alike… and our own consultants are now very keen to work with domestic clients. Indeed, our own client list is now dominated by local clients. We work closely with large and start-up domestic companies, forging close relationships and true partnerships.

At the end, we still feel there are plenty of lessons for us to learn in the future. For MNC, we need to make sure the company is still bold, innovative and forward-thinking. Second, companies need to have strong leadership, learning and development programs to help Chinese staff grow in their careers, both at a professional and personal level. Third, the Chinese economy is still growing, and this means there are still fantastic opportunities available, and more talents to be needed for the business in China.

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