China's HR industry braces for more pressure

Updated: 2010-11-29 17:20
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The year of 2010 has seen the rate of professional level hiring in China rapidly accelerate and those in the recruiting and HR community can now really feel the pressure to find the right candidates starting to mount, said said Robert Parkinson, managing director of RMG Business Consulting Beijing Company in an interview with China Daily website November 29.

MNC/Fortune 500 and SME led expansion held back during the economic turbulence of 2009 has resumed and the number of companies hiring in substantial volumes (more than 100 heads) has dramatically increased as companies seek to make the most of the anticipated 5-7+ years of economic buoyancy in China, according to Parkinson.

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Q: So which industries are particularly active?

A: RMG Selection's clients in the luxury goods sector, for example, are hiring extremely aggressively: A well known French luxury brand has seen their factories in France stretched to capacity, largely to fulfill demand from Asia, and specifically, China. There are such high levels of disposable income, in Beijing for example (a city now with the highest number of billionaires in the world) that there is even list-price demand for display models of 'big ticket' items such as $500k+ cars. This spending has been fueled particularly after the recent changes in the regulations governing the sale and purchase of real-estate. RMG Selection has seen highly competitive hiring in the luxury goods sector both from overseas and with firms poaching talent from direct competitors and other businesses with suitably skilled talent in China. A luxury handbag maker recently hired a senior-commercial executive from a major hotel chain. This is an example of movements from one luxury

In the mid-market consumer goods segment, car makers can not keep pace with demand for new cars, with many of these firms investing heavily in further expansion. Key areas of HR growth include manufacturing-oriented hiring as well as support functions such as training and network development.

In the professional services sectors such as banking, finance, and the law many areas have seen very strong growth through 2010 too, particularly those supporting the large number of initial public offerings of Chinese companies in Hong Kong. RMG Legal, our specialist Legal recruitment division, anticipates further momentum with law firm hiring through 2011 particularly those with a strong deal-pipeline based on acquiring Partners and senior lawyers in early 2010 and a shortage of candidates with genuine international calibre legal practice experience along with a high standard of ability in English-language drafting.

As firms continue to boost investment in increased capacity and support, the pressure (particularly from the Global HQ) to see a rapid return on this investment is ever present. The competition for high quality Sales & Marketing professionals is therefore fierce in a market which is generally felt to lack sales & marketing talent and leadership.

RMG Technology, the specialist ICT recruitment division of RMG also forecasts strong growth: Beijing has traditionally been China's IT hub, however we have seen many international firms expanding R&D operations in other major East coast locations such as Shanghai and Shenzhen, as well as 'second tier' cities and ¡®special economic zones.