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Updated: 18 Jan 2016


Our booming e-commerce and digital media sectors are expected to have a massive impact on China’s job market in 2016 as strong demand for skilled candidates amid the latest IT technologies redraws the country’s commercial landscape.

The government’s efforts to transform the growth model of the world’s second-largest economy by making the most of internet technologies have not only given rise to the rapid expansion of established internet giants, but ushered in vigorous entrepreneurship, according to recruiting experts Hays.

“Chinese firms’ aggressive and determined go-digital strategy will be of great benefit to the country’s deepened market-based reform and create a new growth engine for the economy,” says Simon Lance, Managing Director of Hays in China. “We are going to see some substantial changes in China’s job market as the increasing penetration of internet and mobile technologies into people’s daily life will force financial and commercial companies to recruit professionals with a good command of skills needed for the digital era.”

According to Hays, digital marketing and social media will grow by leaps and bounds in 2016 as employers hire and retain talent in line with the government’s Internet Plus strategy that encourages a wide use of technologies including online cloud, big data and mobile internet.

Hays also says increased RPO investment by employers will be another hot trend in China’s job market while domestic companies’ increasing attractiveness to candidates is another worth close attention.

“The buoyant growth of local companies has convinced employees that a leap from MNCs to domestic firms will be a good career advancement,” Simon says. “Healthcare will also be among the bright spots because demands for health soar in tandem with people’s rising affluence.”

Hays’ top 10 trends for 2016 in China:

1. Technology boom: Skilled candidates in the IT sector will be badly needed in 2016 as more businesses embrace the Internet to enhance efficiency. The growing popularity of e-commerce and digital media is expected to create exceptionally strong demand for those who not only have the skills in traditional industries but understand how to use IT technologies to do business.

2. Rise of domestic companies: One of the major motivations for making the leap from a MNC to a Chinese company is career advancement. Working at the headquarters presents greater opportunities to insert influence on the company’s strategy and gives employees a sense of achievement. It’s more than a regional/country role that focuses on execution. Many Chinese companies, after growing for years, have started looking for senior-level talent with a global perspective, which will open the doors for seasoned HR leaders to make a significant impact in 2016.

3. Increased investment in RPO: More employers will outsource their recruitment function in 2016 to better tap recruitment expertise. This will help reduce in-house recruitment headcount while achieving better results.

4. Local companies’ hunt for HR professionals: This will become a new trend as China’s home grown companies are increasingly aware of the importance of having a strong HR division. They have experienced strong growth and are now able to offer competitive salary packages to local HR professionals. These salaries often include a significant number of restricted stock unit (RSU) or pre-IPO shares which helps attract multinational-trained HR professionals.

5. Healthcare: China’s healthcare industry will continue to grow faster in 2016. The importance of managing health is increasingly understood by Chinese people in line with their rising income. The development of mobile Internet, wearable gadgets and O2O (online-to-offline) are injecting new vigour into the industry. Online medical services will continue to grow, with an increasing number of prescriptions and diagnoses conducted via the internet. The serious air pollution problem in China has attracted the attention of the Government and research organizations. It will become a rising healthcare issue and the Chinese government will take some actions to tackle the pollution problem.

6. Digital solution: Many traditional industries will step up their efforts to add internet technologies and e-commerce operations to their businesses. They will also start hiring professionals to take advantage of booming online social media platforms to reinforce their marketing teams.

7. Wage Pressure: This will continue despite in 2016 a slowing economy. A severe shortage of skilled candidates in certain industries will likely result in fierce competition, with employers doing their utmost to retain and hire qualified talent.

8. Chinese New Year effect: The period following the Chinese New Year holiday will be the busiest time for recruiters as candidates, after obtaining their bonuses, start looking for new jobs.

9. Advance HR system: Local companies, amid their go-outbound campaign, will not only need HR professionals with MNC experience, but will introduce a Western-style system to manage their headcount in 2016. They understand that it’s necessary to fine-tune their HR system to facilitate their globalisation drive.

10. Labour market flexibility: Chinese policy makers are re-visiting some vocational certifications and aiming to reduce the constraints on talent movement between industries. This potential policy change will help employers to utilise employees’ transferable skills and drive China’s job market to become more active, fair and competitive.

For more information on recruitment industry processes or protocol please feel free to contact your local Hays office.

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

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