According to the latest China Contracting Market Snapshot 2018 Report, released by specialist recruitment firm – Michael Page China, 96% of professionals surveyed say they would like a contracting job at some point in the future. The largest section of these respondents (35%) indicated that they will be ready to consider a Contracting position after working for 10 years or more in full-time positions.
Confident of the employment opportunities provided by professional contracting, Peter Smith, Managing Director of Michael Page China, says, “The rise of contracting means we are seeing a more flexible employment landscape benefiting companies in China with talent and skillsets being shared more efficiently and effectively. By using contracting, this gives companies a more flexible approach to managing headcount budgets with the option of employing someone for a specific timeframe that a skill is needed as well as the opportunity to hire someone with new skills when the market or business needs change.”
Through the survey, professionals in China expressed their top reasons for choosing a contracting position. As cited by 29% of respondents, one of the biggest reasons for employees to consider going into contracting is when they are not faced with any substantial financial obligations to make a living. This was followed by employees indicating their interest in a contract role when at the crossroads of a career transition (22%) or alternatively when they were held back by a glass ceiling in their career development (21%).
The Chinese economy is growing exponentially and in a lot of industries, the supply of talent is unable to keep up with business demands, specifically in high skilled areas across functions such as IT, digital, finance and human resources.
“The effects of China shifting towards a consumer-led economy combined with increases in traditional manufacturing costs, the need for innovative improvement to consumer experiences as well as the drive for more efficient processes has resulted in an increased demand for innovative technologies. Therefore skilled talent is now highly sought after in order to implement projects in industries such as Robotics, Artificial Intelligence and Internet” observes Peter Smith.
Despite 78% of respondents stating their awareness around the increased salary opportunities in contracting positions, professionals also voiced their apprehensions. The top 21% were concerned of an irregular income while 17% felt that a short-term hire would only allow them limited time and effort in a job and 13% saw this as an unstable career path.
Addressing these potential challenges, Peter Smith explains, “There is a misconception that contracting is only for junior, transactional roles; and that’s where most of the concerns around salary and career path are coming from. However, companies are hiring contractors at the mid to senior and sometimes even executive level. Their skillsets are in so much demand, candidates can often be paid above market rate and enjoy all the benefits (annual leave, healthcare, bonuses) typically given to a permanent employee.”
It is important to note that candidate’s successfully completing contracting projects also have a high probability of receiving offers for similar assignments from organization’s they were looking to enter. Through contracting assignments they would have also gained new skills which would give them a competitive edge when interviewing for other jobs in contracting but also in permanent employment assignments.
These insights are encouraging, and they align with the factors Chinese professionals say will help in reassuring their doubts. A large percentage (82%) was keen to work for a trusted company with premium employer branding while others (81%) consider salary packages above market rates and 66% were attracted to the entitlement to benefits available to full-time employees in the same organization.
Editor’s Notes: As China’s employment market continues to grow and mature, contract hiring is an evolutionary response to modern China’s increasingly complex employment picture. In view of this trend, the Michael Page China Contracting Market Snapshot 2018was published to identify key insights from the Chinese workforce. The report surveyed 2,642 respondents on their sentiments towards this dynamic hiring solution.
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