Banner Default Image

Profile Human Resources Market Update, Shanghai, Oct 2017

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


  • China’s economy expanded, in line with expectations, by 6.8% in the third quarter of 2017. The predicted growth by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS) is slightly lower than the 6.9% expansion seen in the first half of the year, but still well above the government’s annual target of 6.5%.

  • China’s survey-based unemployment rate stood at 4.8% in September 2017, the lowest level it has been since 2012, which illustrates a job market that is steadily expanding.

  • 9.74 million new jobs were created in China’s urban areas between the months of January to August this year, which means that the country has already achieved 88.5% of its official goal to create 11 million new jobs in 2017.

  • Although the number of jobs in China continues to increase, some sectors such as eCommerce and Internet continue to outperform others like manufacturing. 


  • HR professionals with capabilities in organisational change and development are in high demand, particularly those who can build clear development strategies in conjunction with business stakeholders and provide valuable input that drives business growth.

  • Talent attraction and retention remain key priorities for most organisations irrespective of sector. In recent times, senior business executives and HR leaders have been vocal about their difficulties in retaining and motivating key talent in order to drive business growth, which is especially true for the millennial generation.

  • High M&A activity in China has created a growing demand for HR professionals with relevant expertise in this field. This includes, but is not limited to, candidates who have had experience in organisational assessments and design, HR due diligence and successful integrations, and in managing cultural change.

  • Fast-growing domestic companies within the technology and energy sectors have been increasingly seeking and hiring internationally-minded candidates in Shanghai. With aggressive expansion plans outside of China, these companies have been recruiting candidates who are experienced in, and have implemented, international talent acquisition processes and new remuneration packages, including stock options and restricted stock units.

  • Companies have been embarking on innovative retention strategies, such as flexible working arrangements, improved stock options and restricted stock unit plans, new and improved performance incentives and programmes that focus on improving employee wellbeing.

  • Social media continues to play an important role within HR, not only as a recruitment medium but also as a master platform for employees’ data collection. 


  • The market for skilled and high-performing HR professionals is competitive and, as such, high performers have been rewarded accordingly this year.

  • HR professionals received salary increments ranging from 5 to 8% on average this year, excluding those who were promoted or were recognised as top performers, in which case higher increments were seen.

  • External hires of candidates with in-demand skills have enjoyed attractive sign-on bonuses, generous stock allocations and base salary increases ranging from 20 to 30% to move companies. 


  • Despite China’s economic growth for the third quarter of 2017, the outlook is still in a better shape than the same period last year. Domestic firms have been enjoying very healthy revenues and profits and hiring efforts have been robust, which is positive for job seekers. 

  • An increasing number of domestic companies are expected to enter the overseas market with aggressive investment plans. Therefore, China-headquartered firms will be creating new job openings, not only locally but also internationally.

  • Employee retention and engagement will remain key priorities for business and HR leaders in China.

  • Mobile and smartphone solutions have become popular when it comes to talent acquisition and employer branding strategies. These solutions have been widely used by companies for initiatives pertaining to learning & development and talent assessment as well. This trend is expected to continue in the years ahead.

  • A handful of companies have been using artificial intelligence (Al), cloud and big data for mass and campus recruitment across China off the back of the Chinese government emphasising that AI will play an increasingly significant role in China’s future.


Paul Loo and Shelya Zhou, Profile Search & Selection


October 2017

Read more