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.
In line with the government’s target, China’s economy grew by 6.5% in 2016 as China continues to move away from a reliance on manufacturing to a consumer and services-led economy. Most economists’ forecasts for 2017 remain in the ballpark of 6.5%.
The government’s Jing-Jin-Ji regional integration program, launched in 2014 and given a boost by the fact that the 2020 Winter Olympics will be held in the region, is gaining traction with more organisations relocating their operations to Tianjin and Hebei.
Overall, the demand for HR professionals in Beijing is at a reasonably good level, particularly at the junior to mid-level. Companies have increasingly been entering into mergers and joint ventures or are restructuring in order to stay competitive.
Hi-Tech, E-Commerce and Internet-focused organisations have continued to see some strong hiring of talent in 2017, as well as domestic financial services organisations. Other organisations that have been more robust than most include domestic conglomerates, particularly those with interests in Real Estate, Financial Services and Healthcare. Sectors that have not been hiring as much include Manufacturing, Hospitality and Retail.
The junior to mid-levels of the HR job market remains relatively buoyant with remuneration, company brand and career development being the key motivators for candidates at this level. Many of these candidates, particularly those in their 20’s or 30’s, have been less keen to join startup companies compared to two or three years ago, due to the increasing risk and uncertainty.
Senior HR professionals have been in demand from Hi-Tech and Internet firms along with large domestic conglomerates, but in other sectors these 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 Operations professionals continue to also been in demand, with Organisation Development roles being less common. Within the Operations space many companies have brought more of the function in-house with many building out their Shared Service Centers.
SALARIES & BONUSES
Most companies had their salary reviews in February and March, right after Lunar New Year holidays, and base salary increases ranged from 5 to 10% on average, with the Hi-Tech sector paying out the most with increases of up to 15% being seen.
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.
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. For better performing sectors, like Hi-Tech and Financial Services, bonuses of 30% to 50% have been seen.
Overall, demand for HR professionals has been at a similar level to 2016, and there is expected to be more hiring in the second quarter of this year and beyond 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 and the Hi-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 and HR transformation and restructuring projects.
With slowing economic growth rates a lot depends on the success of government measures to stimulate consumer spending and keep the economy growing at a robust rate.