Talent needed to support the next 40 years of Shenzhen’s development

SHZ talent graphics_1.5 trillion6

Business leaders in Shenzhen are expecting a very positive business outlook this year, triggering demand for experienced talent across a range of industries, as the city continues to develop into an economic powerhouse after 40 years of Reform and Opening, according to recruiting experts Hays.

The birthplace of modern China’s economic miracle, Shenzhen is now the key driver of the Chinese government’s ambitious plans to turn a corner of South China in a global technology and innovation hub by 2035. The Greater Bay Area, as the hub is known, consists of 11 cities and regions with a combined population of 67 million. Last year it generated GDP of over USD 1.5 trillion, which rivals the economic output of the San Francisco Bay Area. 


With such levels of government backing, the local business community in Shenzhen is optimistic about the future. Almost four out of five (79 percent) of respondents to a Hays survey of employers in the city expect strong or moderate growth for their organization in 2018. 

“Over the past four decades Shenzhen’s growth was powered by lower-end manufacturing and low-cost labour, and while manufacturing remains a central part of its economy, we are seeing strong demand for highly skilled, experienced professionals in technology, advanced manufacturing and banking and financial services,” says Dean Stallard, Managing Director of Hays Greater Bay Area. 

“Shenzhen is leveraging its unparalleled R&D capabilities, its highly competitive tech services, its industrial design skills and strong manufacturing base to create a formidable pool of expertise and innovation to drive its growth.”


Referred to as the Silicon Valley of China, Shenzhen is home to globally-competitive technology companies from handset and equipment manufacturer Huawei to drone maker DJI and digital services giant Tencent. The city government this year also vowed to build 10 labs led by Nobel Prize-winning scientists to make breakthroughs in industries such as chemistry, micro-nano, robotics and 5G telecoms. 

Shenzhen is expanding and upgrading its infrastructure to sustain this growth - in early September the high-speed Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link opened. With these investments and government initiatives, Hays expects the development of Greater Bay Area will attract more multinational companies, especially Fortune 500 companies, to set up their regional headquarters in Shenzhen. 

Many of the new career opportunities being generated by the city are in technology. With the Greater Bay Area set to become a technology hub, new positions are being created for data scientists, cloud architects and blockchain specialists. Meanwhile there is an expansion of roles for designers engaged in the research and development of innovative technologies such as user experience, user interface and solutions engineers. Traditional industries are also creating jobs, in particular banking, where there is a growing need for relationship managers within corporate and commercial banks.


Many of these roles require experienced candidates, with 79 percent of participants in the survey hiring people with 5-15 years of experience. Almost four in 10 openings require technical knowledge (39 percent) and demonstrable management and leadership skills (41 percent). The packages on offer reflect the desire of experienced hires – 41 percent of open jobs are offering annual salaries of RMB 300,000-RMB 500,000 and 35 percent are offering RMB 500,000-RMB1,000,000. 

Yet such demand has resulted in fierce competition for talent in the hottest sectors. “The manufacturing and operations industries are showing great appetite for skilled people, as key businesses invest to develop their R&D departments to encourage innovative product design and development to ensure they retain a strong competitive edge,” says Samson Ho, Business Director, Hays Shenzhen. “Shenzhen continues to brand itself as the main technology hub in the Greater Bay Area, meaning that roles in high-tech digital innovation, A.I., cloud computing services and blockchain development are all in high demand.”


“A.I. development candidates in particular are keenly sought. Given that this is a newly developed function, we have to apply a creative sourcing approach to secure the top talents in the market. Digital technology candidates are also very popular right now, therefore clients are willing to offer premium packages for the strongest candidates,” notes Samson. 

To overcome this talent bottleneck, government and business in Shenzhen are taking steps to make the city an even more attractive place to live and work. “”Shenzhen will need to build a new generation of talent to meet its ambitions. We believe that a combination of government talent schemes, urban development, responsive employers and attractive salaries in key sectors will help to attract skilled employees,” says Dean. 

Hays opened its first office in Shenzhen in 2017, becoming one of the first leading global recruitment specialists to establish a dedicated presence in the city. To meet fast-growing demand for talent recruitment, Hays is moving to a larger office in the China Resources Headquarters building located in the heart of the Shenzhen Bay tech district, and is the only recruitment company to be based there. The Hays office in Shenzhen specializes in Manufacturing & Operations, IT & Digital, Accountancy & Finance and Human Resources and is backed by a strong local team of recruiters. 

“Hays is committed to supporting Shenzhen’s continued economic development over the next 40 years and helping it to become a world class technology hub. This year we move to a new office location and build up our team of specialists to meet the talent needs of our clients in an even wider range of traditional and emerging industries,” says Dean.

Search for jobs