Profile Human Resources Market Update, Beijing, Oct 2017

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


  • China’s economy grew by 6.8% in the third quarter of this year, in line with expectations and only a smidgen below the second quarter growth figure of 6.9%. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has very recently revised its GDP forecasts upwards for 2017 to 6.8%, and for 2018 to 6.5%.

  • An exciting development for Beijing is the soon to be created special economic zone which will be built in the Xiongan New Area, a largely undeveloped region just south of the city. The Chinese government has compared this project to the milestone special economic zones created in Shenzhen and Shanghai Pudong decades ago.


  • Overall, the demand for HR professionals in Beijing is at a reasonably robust level, particularly at the junior to mid-level but in some quarters at the senior end too.

  • Domestic Internet giants and start-ups as well as high-tech organisations in the artificial intelligence, big data and cloud computing spaces have continued to see some strong hiring of talent in 2017. Diversified Chinese companies working across the technology and Internet sectors as well as financial services have seen impressive growth also.  

  • The junior to mid-levels of the HR job market are relatively more buoyant. Candidates at this level are very attracted to potential unicorn start-ups but these are difficult to identify among the hundreds of entrepreneurial ventures, so many are shying away from these types of companies with under 100 people.

  • Senior HR professionals have been in demand from fast growing high-tech and Internet firms along with large domestic conglomerates and start-up financial services companies, but in other sectors senior roles have been relatively less abundant. Candidates at this level cite work-life balance, career progression and stability as key drivers (with salary and sector being lower down the list of priorities) considered when moving organisations.

  • Roles within the Generalist and Business Partner space have been dominating so far this year, but Talent Acquisition, Compensation & Benefits, and Learning & Development professionals have also been in demand.


  • Salary reviews this year, for HR professionals remaining in their organisations, have been in the range of 5 to 10% with 15% being seen for top performers and in certain sectors. Generally companies that have been paying well include property firms, well backed unicorns, start-ups with good cash flow like gaming companies as well as pre-IPO companies.

  • For a move between companies an increase of 15 to 25% has been typical in recent years, although increases of up to 25 or 30% have been seen in high growth sectors. Domestic companies have been offering large pay hikes to well qualified and seasoned HR professionals, in order to attract them away from multinationals.

  • Bonus payouts have been similar to last year with weaker sectors paying out 10% or less for junior to mid-level HR professionals and up to 20 to 25% for senior staff and strong performers in relatively more successful companies. For very strong performing sectors, like high-tech and financial services, bonuses of 30% to even 50% have been seen.


  • Overall, demand for HR professionals is expected to remain relatively robust particularly in the high growth sectors mentioned above.

  • Hiring activity will be reasonably strong at the junior to mid-level over the next few months with higher demand for more senior HR professionals from domestic conglomerates, financial services and the high-tech sector.

  • Hiring mandates will be mostly replacement exercises but companies in growth sectors will add new headcount as a result of their organic growth, IPO preparation or HR transformation and restructuring projects.

  • Forecasters predict a slightly slower economic growth rate for 2018 (the IMF speculate 6.5% for the year) with a few economists being nervous at the over reliance on cheap and easy-to-get credit and also on more traditional, manufacturing sectors, with relatively less growth in domestic consumption than many would have liked to have seen.


Richard Letcher, Managing Director, Profile Search & Selection


October 2017

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