Sales & Marketing Market Update 2000x500 Min

Profile Sales & Marketing Market Update, China, Jan 2017

The following report provides an update on the key trends that we have observed within the Sales & Marketing job market in China. It identifies emerging themes across various industries and details the major factors impacting hiring and talent movement.


  • The National Bureau of Statistics of China has increased the 2016 GDP growth forecast from 6.5% to 7.0%. China’s economy grew by 6.7% on a year-on-year basis in the third quarter of 2016, the same pace as in the previous two quarters. This result has been driven by an increase in government expenditure, fixed asset investment and retail sales while industrial output eased.

  • The retail sector has taken a hit with many retailers choosing to exit the China market due to poor sales last year, especially at the luxury end. However, retailers that are doing well will continue to expand their physical stores in the coming years. In addition, there has been a growing expectation from consumers that online and offline retail experiences should be consistent, so companies that are integrating the two well appear to be ahead of the game.

  • According to the World Travel and Tourism Council, tourists in China spent RMB215 billion on outbound travel in 2015, which is 53% higher than 2014. The total is expected to be even greater last year, and by 2020 it is expected to reach RMB422 billion.

  • As disposable household incomes grow, Chinese consumers are spending heavily both abroad and domestically. A joint study conducted by BCG and AliResearch stated that even if economic growth falls to 5.5% per year, China’s consumer economy overall will still grow by some RMB2.3 trillion over the next 5 years.


  • The e-commerce sector has been a clear standout over the last few years, growing at a consistent rate. With more and more consumers turning to online and mobile to shop, organisations will continue to invest in this space and source talent with the relevant skills. There has, however, been a shortage of such talent in the marketplace, forcing businesses to poach talent from competitors and companies outside of China.

  • Within the retail, FMCG and consumer electronics sectors, sales and marketing candidates are increasingly looking to transition their careers from traditional multinationals to mid-sized or start-up companies. Many are switching to local employers because they are perceived to be less bureaucratic, more ambitious, and offer better compensation and flexibility.

  • Within digital marketing, companies are always on the hunt for professionals who are knowledgeable within this space. Individuals who are young; upbeat; and are aware of, and can implement, the latest marketing trends are in high demand. Similarly, candidates who have worked, or have an existing relationship, with B.A.T. (Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent) are looked upon more favourably.

  • Within the consumer sector, the products segment in particular, anything related to fitness, health, mothers and children continues to see steady, healthy growth.

  • With the rise of e-commerce and online shopping, many retailers are finding themselves redefining their online and offline strategies in order to maintain a well-balanced O2O ecosystem, and to ensure that their online business does not cannibalize their offline counterpart. In recent years, several retailers have created an internal “strategy” team, or have expanded their existing strategy team. Those with a background in management consulting have filled the bulk of these newly created roles.

  • The luxury sector has been a little slow in realising the importance of digital marketing. Whilst they do have established digital teams, other sectors have been much faster, savvy and more innovative with their digital efforts to date.


  • Salary increases in 2016 have fallen somewhere between 8% to 15%, especially for top performers.

  • Bonuses last year, if received at all, fell in the vicinity of 15% to 20%.


  • While most luxury retailers have ceased or slowed down their expansion efforts in greater China, other sectors, such as fitness, hospitality, and food & beverage, are continuing to expand their presence in China, and this trend is expected to continue in the years ahead.

  • With technology becoming more prevalent today, fintech and payment solutions companies are rapidly expanding their business operations and, as a result, are adding headcount.

  • According to iResearch, the value of China’s O2O e-commerce sales is expected to climb from RMB335 million in 2016 to RMB626 million in 2018, illustrating that this market still has great potential for companies and job seekers alike.

  • Companies will continue to hire professionals who come from digital marketing and/or e-commerce backgrounds in the coming years. As demand outpaces supply, candidates will have the upper hand when it comes to negotiating compensation and this will probably result in more “job hopping” by candidates.

  • China consumers will continue to travel abroad and spend, especially in places where luxury goods are cheaper. As a result, luxury brands will continue to be conservative with their expansion efforts in China. 


Johannes Tan, Associate Director,  Profile Search & Selection


January 2017

Read more