“New Normal” of the Executive Job Market in Greater China

June 29, 20168:48 am916 views

The major challenge of employers in the “New Normal” is to find competitive and productive talent. They also signal shortage of skilled talent and cultural fit as key hiring challenges. Although the growing digital supports faster and cheaper sourcing, employers still rely on human intervention to make things happen.

Morgan Philips Greater China (formerly MRIC) released the initial findings from its 2016 Talent Survey, which show a continued deceleration in job changes and salary increases across the region.

Based on a survey of nearly 2,000 junior to senior Greater China executives at the end of December 2015 and in early January 2016, the findings explore employers’ key hiring challenges in 2016, employees’ intentions and motivations. This proprietary industry-leading barometer for the talent industry is now in its sixth year.

This year’s survey included probing perceptions of how digital platforms are currently supporting the challenges of hiring or securing new positions. The survey indicates a decrease in job changes and salary increases.

The actual job changes declared in 2015 were slightly below the intentions stated in the previous year’s survey. In Hong Kong, 21% of the respondents changed their jobs compared with the intended 26%; in Mainland China, 17% of the respondents actually moved (intentions 21%), and in Taiwan, 19% declared a job change (intentions 20%).

The proportion of those changing jobs without a pay rise continued to increase for the third consecutive year: 27% in Mainland China, 28% in Hong Kong and 24% in Taiwan. In Mainland China, there has also been a decrease in the higher salary brackets of hikes for three consecutive years.

In 2015, only 17% of respondents from Mainland China changed their jobs with a salary increase of 31% or more, compared with 29% in 2013.

Talent’s intentions to change jobs in 2016 continue to decline: Mainland China 20.5%, Hong Kong 21%, and Taiwan 17%. But, among those planning a move in 2016, 64% in Mainland China, 52% in Taiwan and 44% in Hong Kong expect at least a 21% salary increase. “People are more aware of the economic ‘new normal’,” said Christine Raynaud, CEO of Morgan Philips in Greater China. “However, it doesn’t mean their expectations adjust easily.”

Employers declare that their top challenge in 2016 is primarily in finding competitive and productive talent. They also highlight other important challenges, including selection of talent, cultural fit and shortage of skilled talent.

See: China is losing its Labour-Cost Competitiveness to Emerging ASEAN Economies

“In employers’ minds, competitive and productive goes beyond cost reduction; it also stands for ability to be more creative, and adaptable to new markets and business models. That’s why business and HR leaders highlighted scarcity of skilled talent in our survey and expressed their willingness to pay top talent with proven track records,” commented Raynaud.

More than 75% of survey respondents said digital improved their ability to explore new career opportunities. However, in 2015, recruitment firms, talent acquisition/HR representatives and friends were listed as the top three channels to find new jobs, and contributed a combined at least 83% of successful job changes across the region.

Job boards ranked fourth (13% in Mainland China, 12% in Hong Kong and 5% in Taiwan) with a significant gap from the top three. In spite of the growing popularity of social media in the three markets, the actual job changes secured directly through this channel seemed to be limited according to the survey respondents, with about 1% in Mainland China and Taiwan and zero in Hong Kong.

The respondents shared similar perceptions for 2016. LinkedIn is perceived as the most useful social network for job related activities, according to survey respondents. However, we note for Mainland China the importance of Liepin and to a lesser extent WeChat, both Chinese platforms that are only five years old.

According to the employers surveyed, digital mainly allows broader, cheaper and faster sourcing of competitive talent as well as attracting younger generations; however, it is less useful to resolve their challenges of selection, cultural fit and sourcing of skilled talent.

“Employers in Greater China are now in a qualitative game of adapting to change and growing sustainably while controlling their cost,” said Raynaud. “Digital helps recruiters’ source talent faster and cheaper, but it is still the human intervention that makes the real difference. Consulting and sourcing are two distinct dimensions of a successful recruiting.”

Also read: HR Talent with Soft Skills to Be Most Sought After by MNCs in China

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