Skip to content
Hays - Recruiting experts worldwide
  1. I am
    I am

What does it take to be a digital leader in China?

Updated: 14 Apr 2016

The creation of a new kind of senior executive will be necessary to keep pace with changing technology and consumer behaviour, says recruiting experts Hays in China.


According to the recruiter, this new breed of leader will become increasingly important as companies look for an experienced general manager with digital acumen who can operate within a large-scale business and influence effectively across an organisation.


“The challenges and opportunities for businesses in the age of digital marketing are enormous and leaders must ensure that business strategies are perfectly aligned with ever-expanding digital strategies,” says Simon Lance, Regional Director of Hays in China.


“However, digital leaders are hard to find, attract and retain. As the demand for their skills increases in the future, this talent pipeline will come under even more pressure.  Interestingly, the sharp rise in demand for this kind of leader has been matched by an equally steep rise in the level of compensation offered.


“Today’s high-quality digital leaders command double the remuneration levels of their predecessors, reflecting the scarcity of talent and increasing seniority of the role,” says Simon.


Digging deeper for data

Companies can deliver successful digital marketing campaigns by having a deep understanding of how their customers operate online through the interpretation of data. However, many marketing departments still don’t interact well with their IT departments to enable this deep understanding of customers.


“Big Data analytics is the key to understanding the breakdown of customer type by the media they use. IT and marketing need to invest in Big Data solutions that benefit them both and find a common language from the point of view of customer engagement in the digital age,” says Simon. “Now is the ideal time for businesses of all sizes to invest in generating better quality data for social media and marketing.


 Digital leaders will be the executives with the management skills, operating experience, strategic mindset and vision to lead businesses through this increasingly technological future.”


Overhauling the traditional organisational structure

Traditionally, digital was positioned as part of the marketing function within a business, responsible for driving the organisation’s online presence. Chief Marketing Officers relied on technology primarily to gain customer insight, whereas Chief Information Officers’ primary reason for collaborating with marketing was to improve the customer experience.


The rapid evolution of digital marketing is transforming organisational structures and is influencing business strategy. “In the last couple of years we have seen the rise of the Chief Digital Officer (CDO), a senior executive who sits at the right hand of the CEO and is seen as instrumental to the future of the organization,” says Simon.


“In many cases, the CDO will be the senior executive handling the fastest growing revenue streams within the business – positioning him or her in line to replace the CEO. CDOs who demonstrate their ability to manage change and transform their businesses could find themselves elevated to the position of CEO.”


Do you have what it takes to be a digital leader?

According to Hays, the digital leader needs experience and expertise in e-commerce, online marketing and social media, as well as transformative product and technology capabilities (i.e. analog to digital).


“Importantly, the individual is not only a digital guru but also a seasoned general manager who can help foster a pervasive digital culture. He or she should be able to plan and execute long-term strategy around driving customer awareness, engagement, experience and monetization,” says Simon.


“Due to the transformational nature of the role, change management experience is important.  Also, as many companies increasingly have global customers and employees, international experience is highly sought after.”

Hays, the world’s leading recruiting experts in qualified, professional and skilled people.

- Ends -


This is the fourth article in a series where we’re looking at how digital marketing strategies are important in driving growth and organisational change, and their potential impact on understanding, sourcing and attracting the right talent.


About Hays

Hays is the leading global specialist recruiting group. It is the expert at recruiting qualified, professional and skilled people worldwide.


Hays Specialist Recruitment  (Shanghai) Co., Limited ("Hays China") operates across the public and private sector, dealing in permanent positions. Hays China’s eighteen specialisms span Accountancy & Finance, Banking, Architecture, Construction, Education, Engineering, Executive, Finance Technology, Human Resources, Hays Resource Management, Information Technology, Insurance, Life Sciences, Manufacturing & Operations, Oil & Gas, Property and Sales & Marketing.


Hays China operates four local offices in Shanghai, Beijing, Suzhou and Guangzhou. It is the local representative office for Hays plc, which is a global company with more than 7,840 staff operating from 239 offices in 33 countries across 20 specialisms.


Hays operates in the following countries: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Chile, China, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, UAE, the UK and the USA.