What’s happening in China’s war for talent? The question has been vexing many companies and much of the human resources industry as they ponder the difference between the 2010 and 2011 job markets. But a few months into the new year, things seem much clearer: I’m quite certain that the opportunities for mid- to senior-level managers in 2011 will create significant talent acquisition issues for companies as the year progresses.
Why am I so confident about this? In the past month MRI has been preparing to release its “Talent Index” in which 2,200 senior to mid-level managers were surveyed about their perceptions and prognosis for the year. There seems to be a positive outlook about opportunities in 2011 – and with that comes the issue of employee retention.
Take, for example, how 63% of respondents said they have received a job offer in the last 12 months – and how 75% of those respondents said they received two or more offers. Another interesting finding is that 68% of candidates did not see themselves as being in the top 30% of the market from a compensation standpoint. What that means is that there are a lot of people out there who believe they’re underpaid. It’s not surprising then, that 77% of candidates believe that 2011 will hold greater opportunities for them than the year before.
From an employer’s perspective, this is a cause for concern. The job market has taken a dramatic turn. Many people are thinking, “Things are looking really good this year, and I’m underpaid.” As such, we’re expecting quite a lot of volatility in the job market in the coming months. Employers will have to re-examine their talent acquisition strategies to make sure they hire and retain the best people for the job.
What are the three biggest motivators for candidates to make a job move this year? Increase in compensation, increase in responsibilities or promotion and work-life balance. The third factor is significant – this marks the first time it has appeared on the radar screen so strongly in China.
It reflects a shift in demographics and serves as a reminder of how the country’s talent pool is maturing. Mid- to senior-level managers are realizing that compensation isn’t just about meeting their monthly needs; it’s also about having a good lifestyle and spending time with their families. These motivators are somewhat contradictory as candidates are indicating they want more money and responsibility, but also a better work-life balance.
When talking to our clients about these expectations, we are advising them to find a compensation strategy that combines all three components. At the same time, we are working with candidates to manage their expectations. The talent in the market needs to understand that, typically, more responsibility and compensation usually means less work-life balance. This reality must be acknowledged in China, otherwise the market will eventually reach a breaking point where individual candidates lose their credibility and competitive advantage.
From a corporate social responsibility standpoint, we are very excited about our latest project at the China Hope Foundation, a charity that I co-founded, which I think will help hundreds of children over the coming years. The foundation is currently teaming up with Children’s Hope China to fund a relocated foster home, as well as a cerebral palsy rehab center and training facility in Hegezhuang village in northeastern Beijing.
The facility will be able to care for the pre- and post-surgery needs of up to 40 special needs children. Our hope is that it will become a model for other foster care and rehabilitation centers in China. Over time, we hope to provide training and support to other groups throughout the country to help them understand how to provide the best possible care for these often overlooked children.