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Hays: Battle for talents to heat up in 2019

By Li Wenfang in Guangzhou | China Daily | Updated: 2019-01-02 09:59

A worker in a textile enterprise in Luannan, Hebei province, works in a production plant, using new technology. [Photo/Xinhua]

Industrial automation is expected to become a key feature in the Chinese mainland's talent market next year amid rising manufacturing costs, according to global professional recruiting group Hays.

"China is relentless in its endeavor to be the leading authority of quality manufacturing, innovation and new technology. This is driving employers to consider the technical expertise of a candidate to be of paramount importance, above other factors such as leadership qualities or salary expectations," said Simon Lance, managing director at Hays China.

"Talents who are able to utilize new technologies that contribute to a company's productivity will enjoy better leverage in the employment market. Companies will also continue to invest in product development, quality control and supply chain management, so talents in these areas will also be highly sought after in the coming year," he said.

Raising productivity is a key target for businesses in the Chinese mainland. Although productivity growth remains higher than in developed countries, it is starting to level off and requires further investment to gain momentum.

Guangzhou-based Guoguang Electric Co, one of the largest audio equipment and device makers in China, plans to recruit mainly middle to senior-level talents with technology backgrounds for its research and development activity in the future, said Lin Wenchun, the company's human resources director.

For its manufacturing units, the company will hire engineering-oriented people, and for its frontline workers, it would eye those with technical skills.

The hiring plan has been designed to fit its corporate strategy, which includes technological upgrading and phasing out obsolete facilities, as well as strengthening its core technological know-how to maintain its competitiveness, Lin said.

Yunzhou Technology, a leading Chinese maker of unmanned surface vessels in Zhuhai, Guangdong province, requires a relatively large number of professionals in the fields of R&D, marketing and management, as well as interdisciplinary talents, as the company has come to a high-growth stage, said the company in a written reply for an interview.

As a company in a frontier sector, it requires outstanding professional capabilities and self-motivation, as well as the ability to innovate and execute in its prospective candidates.

The strong demand for talents in the artificial intelligence industry has led to a short supply of such professionals, and Yunzhou has been enhancing its cooperation with universities to foster such talents.

Hays' research also points to China's shift to domestic consumption as a key driver of economic growth.

"Businesses in China will focus on selling within the nation in both business-to-consumer and business-to-business settings. Business development, sales and marketing professionals will be critical in such an endeavor," Lance said.

"As China's internet penetration reaches a new high, online marketing and big data activity will only swell. E-commerce and supply chain are also booming sectors, in which there is a dearth of talents to support the bustling commercial activity."

"As employers face a challenge in filling an increasing rate of job vacancies, they have been ramping up their efforts in attracting and retaining talents through methods beyond competitive salary packages. This can be seen in the greater emphasis placed on gender diversity in the workplace compared to previous years and the mapping of identifiable career paths for employees," Lance said.

Meanwhile, the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, which is considered the third-largest trading area in the world and an up-and-coming technology hub, is creating opportunities for a highly mobile workforce.

Employers from Hong Kong are asking candidates to move to Shenzhen and other parts of Guangdong, and vice versa. The region is becoming a huge investment destination for many organizations across most industries and will remain attractive to top talent through 2019, Hays said.

Multilingual candidates who are proficient in Cantonese, Mandarin and English are highly coveted by employers, according to the Hays report.

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