Internet boom sparks shortage of talent

Updated: 2015-04-04 22:25

By ZHENG XIN(China Daily USA)

  Print Mail Large Medium  Small 分享按钮 0

As Yahoo's shutdown of its operations on the Chinese mainland leads to a rush by local Internet companies to attract its dismissed staff, Rio Goh, China country head of employment adviser group Morgan McKinley, said it's all about the shortage of talent.

Internet boom sparks shortage of talent

Rio Goh, China country head of employment adviser group Morgan McKinley

"There is a shortage of talent across the entire Internet sector, specifically in functions such as R&D, mobile and product," Goh told China Daily. "The Internet sector has grown extensively and there is simply not enough talent to support the growth."

Employees at the R&D Center of Yahoo China were informed on March 18 that Yahoo headquarters in California would close the Beijing office, and all 300 employees would be let go.

However, one company's pain proves another's joy, as Chinese IT companies swoop in to hire Yahoo's suddenly jobless staff.

Yahoo has been quite active in the e-commerce and Internet sector and their employees are well trained in terms of skills and personality so that would make them attractive, said Goh.

Technology, innovation and talent are the driving forces for future development, as China is shifting to an innovation driven development, and competition among high-tech firms have been looking for the best talents, regardless of high payments, rent-free apartments to live in and even stock options.

"It was the same for the banking sector, talent growth will always lack behind industry growth and it takes time to close that gap," he said.

According to Goh, the salary for the staff with the burgeoning Internet sector has increased from 20 to 50 percent in the past few years while a decade ago this specific sector was relatively stable. "The Internet has always been an important part of the TMT (technology, media and telecom) sector but is now really a stand out sector," he said.

The Internet giants Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent, have further helped fuel the white-hot job market by raising base salaries and providing rocketing year-end bonuses for their employees in recent years.

If every company is attracting talent with attractive packages, it will become increasingly more challenging to attract good candidates, and in the long run companies will have to think of other ways to attract and retain talent, such as touting great company culture, training and career development, he added.

According to a recent report by Morgan McKinley, software engineers in China are expected to earn 15,000 yuan ($2,416) to 25,000 yuan each month.

However, Goh said they see a positive growth trend and foresee this to continue in the next few years.

Some colleges and universities in China are already fine-tuning their curriculum and majors, he added.

"Education around Internet is already trying to catch up and we expect this to further grow." In addition to the domestic firms, multinationals are also competing fiercely for the best talents from China.

According to Goh, there is no better or worse when it comes to the multinationals, Chinese Internet start-ups and option of starting a business of one's own, and they are just as equally attractive for the talents if they can provide the right platform.

"All three are attractive, and most talent are looking for a platform that allows innovation, execution of good ideas people have and if there is enough financial support to develop the business on a medium to long term, candidates will consider this," he said.

"The Chinese Internet startups have the financial support and provide a strong platform for creativity and career development, which might be their own advantages."

Goh said he sees a positive development in the Internet sector and does expect it to continue in the next few years.

"It will remain a challenge to retain quality employees for most firms, domestic or abroad."