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Profile Sales & Marketing Market Update, China, Aug 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.


  • China's economic growth is expected to reach 6.6% for 2017, tempering initial worries of a slowdown as Beijing walks a political tightrope with its quest to crackdown on financial risks and limit damage to the economy.

  • The Chinese government initially targeted an economic growth rate of around 6.5% for this year, which is slightly down from the 6.7% growth rate in 2016 - the slowest in 26 years - as authorities stepped up their campaign to wean the economy off its reliance on cheap credit.

  • China’s economic growth remained healthy in the second quarter of 2017, with consumption and retail sales both increasing compared to the same period last year.

  • In particular, the eCommerce sector continued its rapid growth in the first half of this year. The country’s cross-border eCommerce transactions pulled in a staggering 6.5 trillion yuan, the largest growth rate globally.

  • Early predictions by the government suggest that the Chinese economy will grow by 6.3% in 2018 however.


  • In line with the boom in the eCommerce (O2O market) sector in mainland China, there has been an increasing demand for sales & marketing professionals with specific skill sets. Professionals with experience in digital marketing, social media, CRM and developing businesses via online channels have been in great demand.

  • The FMCG industry has been placing more emphasis on eCommerce strategies, acknowledging it as a powerful sales channel. From a recruitment perspective, there has been growing demand for FMCG companies searching for professionals from large established eCommerce companies.

  • Many large multinational corporations have been restructuring and reorganising their commercial functions so that they are better equipped at handling the forever-evolving trends within eCommerce. In particular, a number of traditional retailers and consumer brands have been seeking individuals with diversified profiles, who have the skill set and experience in establishing new businesses and who have been exposed to eCommerce marketing strategy and delivery.

  • As digital businesses become increasingly linked to eCommerce platforms, driving traffic to their online stores has been the biggest topic among digital, eCommerce and branding professionals.

  • The majority of businesses have been focusing their attention and efforts on consumer behavior, leveraging elements of design and consumer understanding in order to better its products and services for its customers. As a result, new market research methodologies and consumer-centric research tools have been at the forefront for many companies. This has created a growing need for sales & marketing talent who are adept at strategic planning and feasibility research and analysis.

  • Companies have also been investing heavily in short and long-term marketing strategies, including new headcount, believing that the right person and strategy can lead the change, and change the rules of the game, amidst strong global competition.

  • Sales in the luxury retail sector have been steady compared to a couple of years ago. Whilst this may be the case, luxury brands are still being vigilant in their recruitment and expansion plans. Fast fashion brands and sports retailers, however, appear to be growing their teams and expanding operations in China. 


  • Salary increments in the B2C sector have been minimal this year, averaging 5%, as FMCGs focus on turning their businesses around and increasing sales.

  • Professionals with solid digital and eCommerce experience, along with brand building skills, received higher increments this year, ranging from 15 to 25%.


  • Marketers are now expected to work much more closely with various teams within an organisation, from finance, strategy planning to IT and human resources. Understanding market research tools, CRM and being able to provide strategic input and generate new business will be some of the critical skills expected far more by marketers in the future.

  • Candidates who are fluent in both English and Mandarin, tech-savvy and have experience working for local Chinese companies (both traditional and new business models) will continue to be highly regarded by clients.

  • Hiring activity by companies in the premium brands, lifestyle, health, pan-entertainment and education sectors is expected to rise in the coming years, which will provide job seekers with more opportunities.

  • As businesses seek new and innovative ways to expand their market share and diversify their business categories, their need for talent with M&A experience will continue to be strong.


Johannes Tan, Associate Director, Profile Search & Selection and Nicole Qin, Associate Director, Profile Search & Selection


August 2017

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