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Views from Rupert Forster, Managing Director, North China


How is China’s or the global economy affecting conditions in this market/sector?

Multinational companies are more cautious now as compared to three or four years ago. In the last two years, multinational companies have moved into consolidation mode, driving efficiency, cost control and risk mitigation in order to achieve long-term and sustainable growth in China.

Our role is to help these companies attract the right people, with the right skills and experience, to help them achieve good governance and performance; this is also the case for many local pre-IPO companies.

For privately held Chinese firms, the market is also strong, especially in industries such as telecommunication, media and technology, ecommerce, business services, financial services, education, medical devices and automotive.

Which industries and corporate disciplines are showing strong or weak hiring trends?

For many multinational and pre-IPO businesses, the demand for high quality back-office workers who can drive good governance is strong. Disciplines such as finance, human resources, legal and technology are benefiting from this trend.

In financial services, we are experiencing strong demand, especially in the middle and back-office banking roles as well as front-office positions in private equity and venture capital. For the first time, we are also seeing strong demand from the non-banking financial services sector such as consumer-finance and micro-finance.

Demand for good sales and marketing experience is strong overall, especially at leadership levels; particularly in consumer electronics, consumer durables and automotive industries. We have seen and continue to expect good growth in digital marketing as well.

There will continue to be significant growth opportunities in the telecommunication, media and technology sectors over the next 12 to 18 months. Beijing is a national hub for technology. Given this, the city has invested in the development of research universities and institutions, technology parks and research and development centres, which also has a big impact in driving innovation and investment in these industries.

Finally, the trend towards cost control and efficiency is driving demand for quality leadership in manufacturing and procurement and supply chain. We fully expect this to continue as companies look internally to drive profit growth and gain a competitive advantage.


How would you characterise the salary environment in China?

Candidate expectations of salary increases for moving jobs vary greatly depending on their discipline and their industry sector. The large increases seen back in 2011 are now less common with employers focusing on a broader employee value proposition and not just remuneration.

Compared to most international markets, China’s employment market is looking positive with companies offering competitive packages as compared to their international peer group.