Chinese professionals 'lured by local enterprises': survey

Updated: 2013-11-21 08:48

By AMY HE in New York (China Daily USA)

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As Chinese join Western multinational corporations in their country and Chinese State-owned enterprises, the workforce is maturing and prioritizing different aspects of corporate culture, a new survey shows.

In a report about China's company culture entitled 2013 MRIC Talent Report, recruitment firm MRIC surveyed more than 5,000 Chinese professionals and managerial individuals throughout Mainland China, Hong Kong, Singapore and Taiwan to learn about how company culture impacts their work lives.

MRIC found that Chinese professionals were "increasingly being lured" by local corporations, as State-owned enterprises (SOEs) and the country's privately owned companies expanded at home and abroad.

Chinese companies are now "increasingly attractive when compared with Western [multinational corporations] in terms of career growth and development, wrote Christine Raynaud, CEO of MRIC, and Angie Eagan, managing director of MRIC in China, in an accompanying note published on the China Business Review website.

Chinese companies may be able to "draw on strong nationalistic sentiments" with workers because there is "pride associated with working for a Chinese company — especially one that is seen as progressive and technologically sophisticated with good career opportunities," the authors wrote.

While China may be growing, the economy is no longer expanding at a double-digit pace and MRIC found that foreign companies are not investing as aggressively as previously. Therefore, Chinese workers are realizing that "foreign companies do not necessarily offer broader roles or great job security," Raynaud and Eagan wrote.

Respondents in the survey said they valued companies with a clear vision of where they are going because it helps clarify the workers' own career paths. When economic growth accelerated rapidly, companies developed "fast track promotion schemes to keep their existing talent," but the survey showed that "people now realize that a title change does not necessarily mean a broader role or greater job security." Chinese professionals are now looking for companies with effective business strategies in China that allow for long-term growth, according to MRIC.

As businesses in China mature, MRIC noted that leadership needs in the workplace have also evolved. "When we look at the most important aspects of culture to employees: clear vision of company direction, respected leadership, governance and more specifically for the younger generation, the belief in fairness for the younger generation, the belief in fairness and promotion on merit, we begin to build a picture of the expectations that are placed on leaders in China today," according to MRIC.

Employees also said that they value opportunities based on merit rather than length of tenure "or in recognition of relationships within the company, as can be the case in more traditional Chinese organizations," according to the report. Asked how workers rate their company culture in terms of fairness and promotion on merit, 18.9 percent of workers at Chinese companies rated their companies as "poor," compared to the 15.4 percent in foreign companies, figures showed.

In the area of work/life balance, professionals are facing more travel and time spent working away from home as Chinese business spread across different regions in the country. Female respondents (42 percent) in particular said that flexibility in work is the most important aspect of work/life balance—compared with 36.3 percent of male respondents who said the same—and 25.8 percent said it is important to have regular working hours with no or little over time, compared with 17.4 percent of male workers.

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