Highlighting the skills you need in a changing China

Updated: 2013-01-15 13:08

(China Daily)

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Human resources | Jonathan Edwards

Perfect candidate should be able to listen, be confident, think critically

The labor market in China, like most of the Chinese economy, has undergone incredible change in the last 20 years.

For most under-40 urbanites, the idea of working for one giant State-owned enterprise for their entire career is an alien concept. Instead, for the past decade, people have been changing jobs with ever-increasing regularity; moving from foreign enterprise to foreign enterprise every two years or so, searching for, demanding and usually getting those 30 percent annual pay increases.

However, we may well be reaching some sort of watershed moment. Could 2013 be the year that skilled staff wages stop spiraling upward as companies reassess their workforce requirements?

Without doubt we are still seeing strong demand in many areas.

The recently published Antal Global Snapshot predicted strong requirements for staff next year.

The snapshot asked more than 5,000 HR and business leaders in China to forecast the talent they would need in the first quarter of 2013.

Highlighting the skills you need in a changing China

Business sectors such as fast moving consumer goods, luxury, healthcare, IT and automotive, all reported healthy demand. For example, Antal's clients in fast moving consumer goods are predicting that product and brand managers with good commercial experience will be a hot commodity next year. Additionally in the retail sector, store managers with good English who are willing to work in second- and third-tier cities can almost name their price.

So, on the face of it, the hot job titles do not appear to have altered. So how have things changed?

Simply put, employers are becoming increasingly picky when hiring.

Grace Zhang, Antal's practice leader for luxury retail, said that her clients are normally happy to interview "as many people as it takes" to find the perfect candidate.

She added: "In the past they were happy to make a choice from three or four people, often compromising on areas of the job description.

"Now they will wait until the ideal person is available. Furthermore, they want value for money from their new hires. They expect people to fit in with their current wage structure and want to see a clear track record of tangible success. They want results today rather than potential for tomorrow."


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