Health Services 2000x500 Min

Profile Health Services Market Update, China, Nov 2018

The following report provides an overview of the latest employment trends in China’s healthcare industry, identifies the emerging players in different sectors, and expounds on the key factors that affect the recruitment and flow of talent. 


  • Healthcare is one of the fastest growing industries in the world. Compared with developed countries, China’s healthcare industry is still in its infancy. In developed countries, the healthcare sector accounts for over 15% of GNP, while in China, the proportion is only 4%-5%, indicating huge room for further growth. As to the industrial structure, developed countries have formed a more comprehensive and balanced industrial segmentation, while China has been facing seriously imbalanced industrial segmentation in the healthcare sector. On the whole, China’s healthcare sector is still in the early stage of development, and great potential remains to be fully tapped. It is predicted that the healthcare sector will gain strong growth momentum, reach a scale of RMB 10,000 billion by 2020, and serve as the new driving force for economic development.  

  • China’s healthcare reform has shifted focus from medical treatment to health, and the National Health Commission has redefined an organisational structure that laid emphasis on medical treatment but failed to give due attention to prevention. A unified, coordinated comprehensive health pattern has taken initial shape.

  • Tiered diagnosis and treatment will be one of the next focuses of China’s healthcare reform, according to which, common diseases, chronic diseases and outpatients, etc. will be further directed to primary hospitals. With the establishment of a hierarchical medical treatment system and two-way referral mechanism, the industry will go through vertical integration.

  • In July this year, Shanghai issued the “50 Articles for the Healthcare Industry”, which encourages medical institutions to establish a quality management system in line with international standards, and carry out international standard certification.


  • Plenty of room for market growth: in view of the growing gap between healthcare supply and demand, and population aging, the industry still has huge room for market growth. According to the statistical data of the National Health Commission, since 2010, the average compound growth rate of non-public medical institutions in China has maintained around 15%. As of early 2018, the number of non-public medical institutions in China exceeded 446,000, accounting for 45% of the total number of medical institutions in China. There are more than 30,000 hospitals in China, among which 17,800 are non-public hospitals, accounting for 60%. The number continues growing as an average of 2,000 non-public hospitals are established every year.    

  • Healthcare professionals with an international background, especially in the specialty of clinical medicine, are the most sought-after talents. An increasing number of medical institutions choose to recruit talent directly from the U.S., Singapore, Australia, and other countries.

  • Primary medical institutions represented by general and specialist clinics are growing rapidly, among which pediatric internal medicine and pediatric dentistry show the greatest market potential. At present, a number of children’s medical clinics have quickly grown into chain brands, which are easily accessible by the middle class and the general public, and help divert some customers from grade 3 and first-class hospitals. Backed by capital markets, clinic chains are mushrooming in the medical market. An increasing number of clinical-related talents have chosen to leave a work unit or practice at multiple sites to access private medical institutions.

  • The government has devoted major efforts to supporting the development of rehabilitation and care centers. The combination of medical treatment and nursing probably represents the main direction of future development. Hot money from various sources flocks to the high-end elder care service market. In response, some institutions for the aged have gradually adopted asset-light strategies, which require relatively low fixed cost and allow them to devote more money and effort to improving the overall quality of service, and also to expanding quickly and seizing the market share.

  • Private medical institutions have been seeking talent with clinical management backgrounds with greater eagerness, and these talents have already become the key competitive assets of enterprises.

  • Meanwhile, in the past year, international pharmaceutical enterprises have launched offline medical services, such as the Stroke Center, Hemodialysis Center, Chest Pain Center, and Children's Atomization Center, most of which are targeted to the second to fourth-tier cities in China. With talent demand in those cities on the rise, talent recruitment will face mounting pressure in regions where medical resources have been scattered.

  • For most of the private medical institutions, “brand building” is an urgent challenge. In the process of brand building, private medical institutions have been integrating commercial interest, public welfare, social responsibility, and other factors in an effort to create value for patients. Thus, the market is still in demand for professionals with brand building experience in healthcare and other related fields. 

  • As China’s healthcare industry is in the phase of development, it has created a lot of opportunities for people who are willing to adapt to and bring changes to the industry. Talents with experience in the hospitality, education and training industries are the most sought-after.


  • This year, healthcare professionals mostly enjoy an average salary increase of about 4% to 7%. A few strong performers are even entitled to a marked salary increase of about 15%. 

  • As to bonuses, high performance in the healthcare industry cannot possibly be achieved overnight. It usually takes strenuous effort for more than 5 years. Thus, medical institutions with stronger capital support pay out higher bonuses more easily.

  • For the information of job seekers, in 2017, salary increase varied with personal ability and industry condition. In the case of startups, salary bases for employees have generally risen by 15% to 30%. These figures are slightly higher than the data collected so far this year in China.


  • In view of the gradually rationalised investment by China's capital market in the healthcare sector, savage growth will not last, the market will be reshuffled, and the overall development will trend toward rationality.

  • The private clinic chains can overcome some of the weak points of the traditional community medical service. In the future, clinic chains with skilled practitioners and premium service will quickly penetrate the market.

  • According to the national policy on healthcare reform, the concept of preventive medicine combined with therapeutic medicine will get more popular among Chinese people, and the concept of health management will draw greater attention. However, at present, health management at Chinese medical institutions is more or less centered on physical examination. In the future, they will start with medical examination, and focus on tracking and intervention.

  • Most of the capital has flowed into the high-end elder care service market. High costs lead to high expenses, which leave most of the mid-market demand unsatisfied. Now the mainstream elder care service consists of 3 models: nursing homes, home-based care and high-end community. These three models meet the needs of different elderly groups. A number of institutions, on the basis of the existing high-end elder care services, are introducing other models of elder care services to accommodate the growing mid-market, which will be the dominant force in the elder care service industry in the future.

  • The private medical institutions will prioritise resource standardisation and integration to achieve further development. Operators of chain brands need to establish quality standards, so as to control the medical service quality of each clinic. Medical investment enterprises with decentralised business need to integrate their resources to bring together the decentralised business modules and build them into a healthcare system, and to make more efficient use of their advantageous resources. Comprehensive clinics can take pediatrics as the starting point, and promote their brands in the community.


In our medical service recruitment database, recent searches include:

  • Operations Director

  • Director of Medical Affairs

  • Project Director

  • Nursing Home Dean

  • Outpatient Manager

  • Nursing Director/Head Nurse/Nurse

  • Marketing Director

  • Department Director

  • Clinicians

  • Clinical Technician


For more information on recruitment trends in China, please contact the Health Services team.

Cherry Zhu, Director

T: +86 21 6080 0615


Kris Chen, Senior Consultant

T: +86 21 6080 0611                                                                     


Delta Ding, Consultant

T: +86 21 6080 0640


To view the infographic report, please click here.


Cherry Zhu, Director, Profile Search & Selection


November 2018