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HR talent face higher requirements for soft skills: MNCs need high-skilled candidates to ensure smooth restructuring and strategy adjustments

Updated: 19 Apr 2016


Human resources talent who can have a positive impact on business strategies will be actively sought after by multinational companies in China as they conduct further expansion in the world’s second-largest economy.

According to recruiting experts Hays, this is leading to a heightened requirement on HR managers as they are supposed to play a bigger role in mapping out growth plans and business strategies.

“HR candidates are required to not only be able to handle practical work, which is within reach of most of experienced professionals, but be able to play a critical role in making decisions on key issues such as hiring and manpower distribution,” says Simon Lance, Managing Director of Hays in China. “Demands for HR candidates with soft skills are extremely high.”

The latest Hays Quarterly Report of skills in demand shows that employers are focusing on HR candidates’ capabilities in communicating with other teams to work out effective hiring plans, to have a positive impact on overall business strategies.

“Aside from practical experience, we are seeing a much greater focus on soft skills as employers seek HR candidates to fill vacant positions,” said Simon. “In many cases, we see HR Business Partners required to communicate internally with Talent Acquisition teams to work out reasonable hiring plans.”

Multinational companies, after nearly two decades of fast growth in China, are now adjusting their long-term development strategies in the world’s most populated market.

China is seeking a slower but sustainable growth pattern in the coming decades, highlighting the contribution from technological innovations and buoyant consumer spending.

“Multinational companies are feeling it necessary to have capable HR managers on board, who can help senior management to better implement their long-term strategies for the gargantuan Chinese market,” says Simon. “Indeed, strong activity in replacement hiring will continue this quarter and new roles will be created after some multinational firms complete their restructuring of Chinese operations.”

Business Partners, Compensation & Benefits and Training & Development professionals are particularly in short supply as employers scramble to fill roles this quarter, Simon says.

Multinational companies, in order to ensure their salary structures are competitive, will actively look for Compensation & Benefits candidates this quarter.

“Employers are also using internal transfers to help different organisations operate smoothly,” says Simon. “Mobility specialists who can help develop succession plans are in high demand now.”

He adds that high-skilled HR professionals with command of at least two languages are still actively sought after with employers offering attractive pay packages to them.

Recruitment campaigns, internal referrals and the use of recruitment agencies remain the top sourcing methods for HR talent.

In terms of candidate trends, Hays finds that most HR talent is now looking at opportunities outside their own industries or fields.

“Cultural fit, aligned values and career development appear to be the key factors that senior candidates would carefully assess before making decisions to move or not,” says Simon. “They will likely accept offers that give them opportunities to showcase their ability and performance. We find that junior candidates attach importance to learning and progression.”

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About Hays
Hays plc (the "Group") is a leading global professional recruiting group. The Group is the expert at recruiting qualified, professional and skilled people worldwide, being the market leader in the UK and Asia Pacific and one of the market leaders in Continental Europe and Latin America. The Group operates across the private and public sectors, dealing in permanent positions, contract roles and temporary assignments. As at 31 December 2015 the Group employed 9,420 staff operating from 248 offices in 33 countries across 20 specialisms. For the year ended 30 June 2015:

– the Group reported net fees of £764.2 million and operating profit (pre-exceptional items) of £164.1 million;
– the Group placed around 63,000 candidates into permanent jobs and around 200,000 people into temporary assignments;
– 23% of Group net fees were generated in Asia Pacific, 41% in Continental Europe & RoW (CERoW) and 36% in the United Kingdom & Ireland;
– the temporary placement business represented 58% of net fees and the permanent placement business represented 42% of net fees;
– 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

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