Headhunters drafted to search for talent
Updated: 2012-06-19 08:00
By Chen Xin (China Daily)
One Thousand Foreign Experts Project aims to spur innovation
International headhunters are being called in to work alongside officials on the government's talent import programs as they seek the best talent from around the world to work in China's top industry sectors.
China started a recruitment program of global experts in 2008, aiming at attracting about 2,000 overseas professionals to the country's key innovative projects, key subjects and laboratories, high-tech industrial parks and State-owned enterprises and financial institutions.
The One Thousand Foreign Experts Project, which the government launched late last year, plans to invite 500 to 1,000 high-end non-Chinese foreign professionals from other countries over the next decade to help promote innovation and scientific research.
Besides those, each province, municipality and autonomous region has started their own plans to introduce overseas professionals to help with local development.
Overseas professionals recruited by the programs will be entitled to financial subsidies and favorable visa, taxation and wage, residence, medical care and insurance policies.
The 'One Thousand' project, for example, awards each foreign professional a subsidy of up to 1 million yuan ($157,000) from the central government and scientific researchers can get a 3 million to 5 million yuan research allowance.
One international company now working closely on the initiatives is US-based Silk Road, whose co-founder Chauncey Kupferschmid told China Daily at an overseas talent introduction forum in Beijing on Monday that interest in the Chinese market is high.
"It's a big interest for headhunters to tap into that market. I think it's a continual challenge on everyone's part to brand and sell the message the country provides to global talent."
Kupferschmid said the Chinese government has given a clear message to global candidates that it is not only about opportunities for the high-end professionals themselves, but also about opportunities for their family and children, and about lifestyle.
"It is more than just a job," he said. "They ask, 'can I be successful and can my family be happy here in China?'"
Kupferschmid said his company with more than 3,000 clients in 75 countries - has already had candid discussions with Chinese authorities and will continue to look for ways to create partnerships to help introduce ideal professionals to China.
Xiong Zhixue is general manager of China Services International, a subordinate organization of State Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs and is one of the key government bodies overseeing the talent introduction programs.
"We are exploring ways to cooperate with international headhunters who have a large number of global talent sources to help with our programs," said Xiong, who added that the organization is planning to host more meetings and seminars to let international headhunters get a better understanding of China's talent needs and thus to finally find the right talent.
Kupferschmid from SilkRoad said the message he received from the Chinese government is that the country needs high-end professionals in almost every industry, but that healthcare is one of the most urgent.
"Like in every country, there is a shortage of healthcare professionals, doctors and nurses.
"China is an aging society, and taking care of an aging society demands everything related to healthcare from pharmacy to rehabilitation and long-term living facilities," he said.
"I would suggest that healthcare stands out as an industry that really presents a global challenge for having the best talent to fulfill their roles."
Kupferschmid also suggested he's been using social media sites such as weibo in China and Facebook and Twitter overseas to promote the programs and catch candidates' eyes.
Caleb Baker, managing director with recruitment managed services of outsourcer Talent2's Asia Pacific office, added that it would also be bringing all its "intellectual property and experience" to help the government.
"It's a big step for us because we were mainly working in multinational sector for China business," he said.
Talent2's hires about 8500 overseas professionals a year into China, he said.
Zhang Ke, a country manager with First Advantage, a US-based provider of employment background screening services, added that it's targeting general and high-end professionals.
(China Daily 06/19/2012 page4)