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Western-style benefits attract jobseekers in China

The east continues to meet the west with western-style benefits now offered by employers in China to attract and secure talent, says recruiting experts Hays.

Updated: 20 Jan 2016

According to the April to June Hays Quarterly Report, released today, candidates in China are confident to move jobs but employers need to consider lifestyle benefits in order to attract the top talent. 

“We are starting to see a number of overseas trends around benefits coming into the China market,” says Simon Lance, Regional Director of Hays in China.
“Local companies are trying to compete with foreign companies who are offering gym memberships, flexible hours, no overtime guarantees and the ability to work from home in an effort to attract talent. This is what candidates are saying they now want.
“We are seeing a generational shift moving away from the belief that work comes first towards a desire for work/life balance.  Candidates are specifically targeting companies that offer lifestyle-related benefits, such as no work over weekends.
“In some cases if a candidate is placed in a role where the hours are longer than expected they will simply begin to look for other opportunities. They are ready to adopt the practices of the western world when it comes to their work/life balance.
“In response, we have seen some great examples of employers making a concerted effort to promote a better work/life balance. If we look at China’s education sector, for example, employees from some international schools receive free weekly back massages and attend yoga classes. They can enter relaxation rooms during breaks and in some schools teachers have access to climbing walls and play station rooms. The motto is work hard, play hard.
“The accountancy sector is also increasing not only salaries but also benefits to secure highly skilled candidates.
“As the skills shortage intensifies, western-style benefits and work/life balance will continue to be widely used by employers as a strategy to attract new employees.”
The Hays Quarterly Report lists the skills in most demand in China for the April to June quarter:
  • Hays Accountancy & Finance – commerce & industry: China’s commerce and industry sector remains active following the opening of new stores and the establishment of finance shared service centres to streamline new business operations. This is creating opportunities for candidates with skill sets across financial planning and analysis, financial modelling, feasibility studies on business development, strategic planning and shared service centres.
  • Hays Accountancy & Finance – financial services: Financial leasing companies and the life insurance sector continue to remain buoyant and there is demand for accountancy and finance professionals with a track record in financial reporting and relevant industry experience. Candidates with strong product knowledge and solid accounting skills, as well as compliance and treasury accounting expertise are in demand. 
  • Hays Banking: Strong Credit Analysts, in addition to commodity trades sales, wealth management candidates and Relationship Managers are sought. The market also continues to need strong sales professionals. Client and Relationship Managers are needed to develop solid relationships with multinational corporations, SOEs, local corporates and SMEs. Financial, leasing and project management professionals are also in demand as banks use the current economic environment as an opportunity to consolidate systems and service lines.
  • Hays Construction, Hays Engineering & Hays Property: As the China market continues to develop, candidates across architecture, property and construction continue to be sought after. The construction industry is trending towards projects outside of the first tier cities along with areas in North East China and South Western China. The property market is maturing with more specialised roles starting to surface in the first tier cities.
  • Hays Education: In China’s education sector, A-Level centres are fast expanding in second and third tier cities. To compete for talent many of these centres have increased salaries by 5 to 15 per cent for subject teaching roles, while leadership roles are increasing in demand for secondary schools. Private schools are also trying to become more competitive in the education market by improving benefits and allowances to attract talent.
  • Hays Finance Technology: There is strong demand for Java Developers within investment banking teams as new development centres are based in China. Core Java development is widely used inside the development of investment banking high-frequency, low latency trading systems. Most of the developers locally in China are working on the J2EE web development side rather than the Core Java side which is creating a shortage of candidates skilled in this software.
  • Hays Human Resources: Learning and Development, Organisational Development and HR specialists with strong customer service delivery are in high demand. Employers are looking for candidates who can help to provide greater influence within the organisation and execute the right HR policies and strategies.
  • Hays Information Technology: There is high demand for candidates experienced in e-commence project delivery management and Oracle, along with MS Domain Technical Specialists and Architects. In addition, the mobile internet industry continues to boom around IOS Android mobile technologies and web technologies such as Javascript, HTML5, PHP, CSS, which is creating significant demand for talent such as Java Engineers, Software Engineers and Java Developers. 
  • Hays Manufacturing & Operations: Demand for business development and supply chain management candidates, particularly Account Managers, Finance Managers and Business Controllers remains constant as companies focus on improving their operational efficiency as well as looking for new business opportunities.
  • Hays Life Sciences: A number of life sciences employers have aggressive plans for hiring this quarter. As such we are seeing high demand for experienced candidates in R&D, clinical research, marketing and quality assurance.
  • Hays Oil & Gas: In China's upstream oil and gas market most companies are looking for drilling, completion, geoscience, contract procurement, logistics and production candidates. In the downstream market demand exists for sales management, technical coach, brand communication, M&A management and operations management specialists.
  • Hays Sales & Marketing:Marketing and market research candidates are in demand following a number of acquisitions in recent months which has resulted in the movement of employees. China is perceived by many businesses as an area of growth hence commercial candidates, along with marketing and PR candidates are in high demand. In particular, Marketing Managers, Account Directors and Retail Managers are sought, along with Sales Directors, Public Affairs Managers and Senior Product Managers.
View the full Hays Quarterly Report at
Hays, the world’s leading recruiting experts in qualified, professional and skilled people.
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About Hays
Hays is the leading global specialist recruiting group. We are the expert at recruiting qualified, professional and skilled people worldwide, being the market leader in Asia Pacific and the UK and one of the market leaders in Continental Europe and Latin America. We operate across the private and public sectors, dealing in permanent positions, contract roles and temporary assignments.
As at 31 December 2011, Hays employed 7,988 staff operating from 247 offices in 31 countries across 20 specialisms. For the year ended 30 June 2011, Hays reported net fees of £672 million and operating profit of £114 million and placed around 60,000 candidates into permanent jobs and around 190,000 people into temporary assignments. 31% of Group net fees were generated in Asia Pacific.
Hays operates in the following countries: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, China, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, UAE, the United Kingdom and the USA.


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