[photopress:chineseexecutives2.jpg,full,alignright]A McKinsey & Co. study estimates that, within five years, China will need 75,000 executives who have either Western technical skills or language ability — ideally, both. Only about 5,000 are in the work force now. China’s growth rates of about 10 percent per year, which already makes it the world’s No. 4 economy, pushes companies to develop leaders at a faster pace than most other countries.
Iain Herbertson, president of Asia-Pacific for Manpower, which has 350 consultants in 11 Chinese cities, said, ‘The challenge is not in finding 500 or 1,000 people to man the factory. The challenge is in finding leadership skills and functional management skills.’ About half its contracts are for information technology workers.
For now, the numbers are relatively modest. Of Manpower’s $4.4 billion in second-quarter revenue, the ‘other’ segment — which includes China, Japan and Australia, as well as Mexico — reported sales of $577 million. Its operating profit of $15 million was about 9 percent of Manpower’s quarterly total. But the segment is among the company’s fastest growing. Within three to five years, Manpower will have a staff of 1,000 to 1,600 in mainland China.
The same applies to other, similar, companies. Executive recruiter Heidrick & Struggles International found its Asia-Pacific operations had faster revenue growth and highest profit margins than either the United States or Europe. The region accounts for 10 percent of total company sales, and China about a fifth of that.