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Technology & service sector growth to boost economy
Much has been made of the slowing down of the Chinese economy, with the Institute of International Finance having gone so far as to describe it as a "crash". Amongst a wealth of negative media coverage, it’s hard not to imagine hiring managers sitting in corporate offices in New York and London thinking twice about increasing headcount in their Chinese operations.
The reality though, is that the Chinese economy is still expected to grow a substantial 6.9% this year, and on the ground the mood around hiring is still broadly positive. Findings from the 2016 Michael Page Greater China Employee Intentions report (due to be launched next month) also indicate positive sentiment amongst Chinese workers. Just under a quarter (24%) of surveyed employees rate current job prospects as good, with just under half (47%) rating it as average – hardly a picture of doom and gloom.
So where is the growth coming from? Predominantly hiring activity is reflecting the change in the overall economy. It’s coming from the technology and service-driven sectors. China is investing heavily into technology, partly to become a more high-value manufacturing environment, with a switch to a more automated approach. But also with the move from offline to online – O2O– across a wide range of industries that has also led to some notable hiring trends as companies look for candidates with specific technology or digital skills.
As international companies take a more cautious approach to their Chinese operations, many local Chinese businesses are looking to make hires, with significant investment in people who can move the process from old style manufacturing through to automation.
The Chinese themselves have embraced new technologies and this is supporting growth in local ecommerce business. The economy clearly has its challenges and as a result the job market does too. But from what we’re seeing it’s very much a shift in focus rather than a “crash” in the economy. This is to be expected when a hugely powerful economy shifts to be more open and in line with global markets. As government support is tinkered with, the market has a period of ‘finding its feet’, but we expect stability to return.
Another reason for continued confidence in hiring is that while times are challenging and growth is harder to achieve, companies need better people. Those they’ve employed before might not have the right skills to get through a more challenging or different economy and they seek to hire people with more advanced or specialist skills. If you are ensuring your skills are up to date and you are good at your job, you’ll always be in demand.
The 2016 Michael Page Greater China Employee Intentions report is launching soon. Look out for further coverage here and make sure you download your copy for insights into what the region’s workforce are thinking and doing in the workplace.