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While global giants cut back on staffing around the world, some are moving to take advantage of services aimed at a burgeoning middle class.
Banks are shedding staff around the world to cut costs this year with the exception of the mainland, where several European lenders are hiring to support the expansion of their networks.
Three European banks – Britain’s HSBC and Standard Chartered, and Germany’s Deutsche Bank – are hiring people for various functions on the mainland, according to headhunting sources.
Elsewhere in the sector hundreds of positions have been cut at international banks including Deutsche Bank and Credit Suisse in Hong Kong. Most cuts have come in the investment banking areas rather than the retail and commercial banking sectors, as they seek to generate more cash from traditional services such as lending and deposits.
But on the mainland banks such as HSBC are continuing to build their branch networks and are adding to their headcounts according to a headhunter familiar with HSBC’s hiring plan on the mainland.
Robert Grandy, a managing director specialising in the financial services industry at recruitment firm Korn/Ferry, said the expansion was likely to continue in the medium term.
“Most of the firms seem to be committed to the market in China,” he said.
However, the hiring was selective, said Robert Parkinson, chief executive of RMG International Business Consulting in Beijing. “You might have banks letting support staff, IT and accounting people go, but they are still hiring (in other areas). “
According to Grandy, new hires were in areas such as transaction banking, trade finance, and cash management.
Cherol Cheuk, general manager of the Shanghai office of recruitment consulting company Hudson’s, said although foreign banks were hiring, they had become more cautious and were focused on hires that could generate more cash flow.
“Banks are tending to hire more local people to fill spaces as sales staff and relationship managers who can bring in more local customers,” she said.
Meanwhile, the growing wealth of mainlanders also has created room for foreign banks to grow private banking business, Parkinson said.
According to a survey by the Hurun Report and GroupM Knowledge, there were 1.02 million millionaires in the mainland in July, 6.3 per cent up on the previous year.
Parkinson said foreign banks needed to recruit staff skilled in asset and fund management. “They need people who have expertise in getting money out of China,” he said.
Read the whole articlel: http://www.scmp.com/business/banking-finance/article/1061120/global-banks-hiring-staff-china
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Stress among managers in China is mounting, even causing deaths at work. What is pushing them to the brink?
These days, Brian Dong is crying out for a vacation. The stress of running a startup company in China’s finance industry is threatening to overwhelm him. Too bad he does not have the time.
As the CEO of an Australian foreign exchange trading company, he has a laundry list of tasks and roles, from dealing with hundreds of emails every day, reporting to the board and investors to giving directions to his employees.
“From the moment I get into the office till the time my head hits the pillow, I’ve worked almost 15 hours a day,” the 30-year-old executive says. “I should take some time off before I burn out.”
Like Dong, many business leaders in China are saddled with enormous pressures. But stress among senior executives is often not discussed in the corporate world, where working 80 to 100 hours a week is the norm.
China Daily found out, however, that stress and problems related to high stress are more common and serious than many employers are willing to admit. Sixty percent of business executives in China say they have seen their stress increase in 2011, according to Grant Thornton, an international business research accounting firm.
The number is 28 percent higher than the average stress level around the world and the second-highest after Greece, which is currently under a deep depression with 67 percent of senior executives admitting a spike in stress levels.
Jonathan Geldart, the global head of marketing and communications at Grant Thornton International Ltd, says the problem is getting serious and sometimes dangerous because stress can force business leaders to make decisions too quickly or worst of all, take the wrong direction.
“Eventually it can affect the profitability of a company or even bankrupt it if the stress is not managed because you are stressed and you don’t look thoughtfully at all of the issues,” he says. Geldart says there is more pressure on the Chinese government to fix the nation’s ills.
“The Chinese government is clamping down on many aspects of business corruption in particular, in taxation, in improving the accounting standards and in encouraging people to go overseas, so the pressure is rising. And the economy is not doing as well as it used to. So there is a higher pressure in China than other places.”
The American Institute of Stress estimates that American companies lose over $300 billion every year due to stress and stress-related diseases such as absences, exhaustion and mental health problems.
According to RMG International, a recruitment consultancy in Beijing, work pressure costs Chinese businesses more than $100 million each year.
A recent example of what stress can do in China happened earlier this month. A 25-year-old employee of Kingsoft, a software company in Beijing, died at his desk after spending the night in the office. The company denied that too much work contributed to the tragedy.
In recent months, unexplainable deaths have been more common in financial sector.
In May, a 34-year-old senior manager in the legal department of CITIC Securities, China’s largest listed securities company by total market value, died of cerebral hemorrhage. The death triggered a heated public discussion with many saying that the death resulted from the manager being overworked.
Experts say several of the deaths are closely related to being overworked as well as intense pressure from peers, the fear of “losing face” and unrealistic business expectations in the workplace.
Mike Thompson, a professor of management practice at the China Europe International Business School in Shanghai, says that in China there is a great amount of pressure on an individual to be seen as successful among peers.
Robert Parkinson, CEO and founder of RMG, says that money leads to pressures to live a prestigious life, to have a nice apartment, to join a nice club and to marry a pretty girl.
“People are fearful of losing their position in society or lose their money when they become rich,” he says. “In China 40 or 50 years ago, people were concerned about whether they had have enough to eat or if they had enough basic things.
But as China has rapidly expanded its economy with the huge level of disposable income available to the people, things have changed. This competition to have more things in life will never end if your only value is money.”
The increasing desire for luxury goods is an apt explanation of why people seemed more stressed in China than in other countries.
Here, people are trying to live up to a social status they’ve created for themselves.
All about face
One of the results from the Grant Thornton survey is that business people in the United Kingdom and France have the lowest stress levels in the world.
Thompson, who was born in the UK and has been working in China for more than three years, says one of the causes of lower stress levels in the workplace in the UK is directly connected with humor or wit that works as a relief to stress. He says it’s a very common factor across all UK workplaces.
“It is more acceptable and more usual to use and express humor at the expense of someone else in the UK than in other places, particularly in China,” he says. “Humor can lower stress because the use of humor actually allows a person to more fully disclose who they really are.”
But Parkinson says in China, people care most about losing face. “What does losing face mean? It means looking stupid,” he says.
“In my interpretation, people in China care very much about what people think of them and that causes lots of stress. In fast-moving competitive working environments, you can have conflicts and misunderstandings very easily.”
Oliver Barron, the head of the Beijing division of NSBO China, a UK-based Chinese government policy investment research firm, says the Chinese concept of losing face makes managing workers very difficult. Losing face is another source of pressure for many foreign managers in China.
Experts say that a heavy workload and high expectations are two major sources of stress for senior managers.
According to the report by Grant Thornton, 24 percent of respondents from China believe their stress stems from the pursuit of business goals, while 20 percent of the respondents reported difficulties in finding a work-life balance.
“I think the expansion of personal performance targets is one of the chief causes in the rise of stress internationally and particularly in China, where I think the competitive nature of the market is stronger than in the West,” says CEIBS’ Thompson.
In the face of stress, many senior managers are trying to manage the pressure by delegating work to others, while some are finding other ways to help ease their stress, such as meditation, exercising and traveling.
Barron also recommends meditation on a regular basis.
“Ten minutes everyday is more important than an hour every week, and the simplest technique is to focus on breathing,” he says.
Thompson says that exercise or vacations are only a temporary relief from stress.
“The more permanent way to get rid of stress is by living from within and from discovering who you really are and taking a step back and looking at yourself,” he says. “Perhaps enjoying humor because it is energizing and can also reveal a lot about you.”
Read the whole article: http://usa.chinadaily.com.cn/weekly/2012-09/21/content_15772409.htm
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Recent studies suggested that underemployment, a grey area between employment and unemployment, has become a surging problem faced by both hirers and employees.
In the Press Conference of the 2012 Blue Book of the Chinese Society, Professor Chen Guangjin, with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said that the employment situation in China is still complicated. He claimed that companies are having a hard time finding the right people and job seekers feel there are no opportunities for them. Meanwhile, another survey on working happiness indicators of employees shows low contentment rate in jobs. Both realities clearly illustrated the ubiquity of underemployment at present.
According to the data which RMG Selection collected from its clients, some positions have been open for three or even more years due to the high job requirements. As a result, some companies have to hire unqualified people to fill those positions in order to keep the projects running, others choose to hire overqualified talents with the knowledge that they are not able to keep them long enough.
Underemployment can also take place in areas where sections of the local economy are inactive. Some applicants, who could (and would like to) work as full-time employees, can only find part-time jobs due to lack of job and training opportunities or lack of social services of finding jobs.
Another situation can be understood as ‘overstaffing’ or ‘hidden unemployment’, in which full-time employees have to work part-time due to unavailability of work opportunities, inevitable budget cuts of the companies they work for, legal or social restrictions or the highly seasonal nature of the job itself.
If anyone in your team had previously experienced or is currently suffering from this underemployment, do not panic, the following points will help you to analyse the causes of these phenomena:
● Insufficiency utilisation of skills
On the labour market, companies always found themselves in a dilemma: the HR departments hope to catch big fishes, waiting for the ideal talents to knock on their doors. On the other hand, however, they always work under recruitment deadlines. The result is that they often end up choosing, instead of the right ones, either overqualified or under-qualified candidates, who would either feel not being valued highly enough or work under huge pressure caused by their inadequate capabilities. At the same time, senior employees are unhappy as they feel as though they’re being held back by having to work with unqualified newcomers. This would cause a chain reaction in which companies suffer from constant loss of human capital.
● Insufficient utilisation of economic capacity
The labour market is closely linked to the economic situation across society. Due to the limited job and training opportunities and the inadequate social welfare systems, the number of part-time or informal workers keeps growing. These workers, who are under-paid compared with full-time employees, could not be deemed as properly employed.
● Insufficient utilisation of employees
Even some formal employees, who are properly hired and collect a monthly salary, find themselves in a situation of underemployment. Specialists like fire fighters or EMTs are in two states at work: standing by or saving lives. These kinds of underemployment are understandable and necessary. However, it is crucial to prepare for those times on stand-by. But how? A private hospital with a 24-man EMT team has set us a good example in which the EMT members would exercise their skills and take exams periodically. In the long run, this kind of activity is not only beneficial to employees but also to the companies.
It is also the ‘habit’ in many state-owned companies that there are many staff members who lack tasks and aren’t busy; underemployment, culturally, has become the norm and as naturally and inevitably the Chinese economy moves away from state-run to privately-owned enterprises so too will there be an inevitable move towards business and activity as dictated by a competitive system.
Perhaps you have begun to look at a way to help your team?
After you have painstakingly screened the candidates for several times and selected the right guys for the jobs, you’d better make sure they don’t work in a state of underemployment. Below are some tips for your consideration:
● Make scientific performance evaluation systems – there are always reasons for staff to work harder and as the saying goes- ‘if you measure it, it gets better!”
Let’s take one of RMG’s clients, Stago, as an example. In this company, their performance evaluation system is made up of the fulfilment of working goals and personal development. Philippe Barroux, General Manager of Stago, said that the basic salary is based on the level of target fulfilment of the previous year. And in terms of personal development, an employee would sit together with his/her manager and list his/her personal aims for being a better talent at the beginning of a year. “The more aims you reach, the bigger annual bonus you get,” he said.
The annual performance assessment in Stago is not only an opportunity for discussing career development and training objectives for company staff, but also a great chance for establishing ‘win-win’ relationships between the employer and the employees. “Making personal development assessments for the employees made them feel a sense of achievement and also made their work more efficient,” said Philippe.
● Creating a positive competitive environment inside the enterprise, giving the employees a goal
A positive environment for competition is a good way to retain your employees. Let’s share the successful cases from P&G. One secret of P&G is the internal promotion, according to which P&G never hires a person from outside P&G as a superior. P&G only chooses, promotes and rewards those who have had outstanding working performances, which has nothing to do with other irrelevant factors. The promotion depends on the working performance and the contribution one made to the company. The speed of one’s promotion depends on one’s capability and achievements, a P&G spokesperson once said. For employees, the glamour of a company is not only the salary, but more importantly, there should be a channel for employees to realise their career ambitions.
● More promotion channels
It is important to make employees realise that no matter what department they work for and what positions they hold, everyone can find the way to success if they try. Furthermore, if they meet the requirements, they can be promoted to handle bigger responsibilities and get a better salary. The employees should not only positively accept the subjective judgments given by their supervisors. In a win-win relationship, they should combine their own personal career goals with their enterprise’s own development objectives.
Many people spend a lot of time developing their own methods after hearing some new ideas and forget that practice is the only way to create results. In the face of the underemployment situation, which may have already existed or may occur in the future, a manager should put his methods into practice. Only in this way can people successfully deal with emerging problems.
Read the whole article: http://www.businesstianjin.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=5271:underemployment-the-grey-area-in-hr-management-&catid=162:2012-october&Itemid=100
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Foreign companies losing their edge as more professionals turn to Chinese companies for jobs
After studying in the US for five years and then taking up a job with a US technology company in China, many thought that Cui Nan had made it in life. But last month, the young engineer surprised everyone when he decided to leave his job and take up employment with a State-owned enterprise.
“Salary counts but it’s not what determines whether one should change a job or not,” says the 31-year-old engineer. “What really attracted me to the new job was the long-term career development opportunities.”
Cui says Chinese employees often get stuck at a certain level after the mandatory promotions in a foreign company, whereas they have better career prospects in a domestic firm.
Like Cui, a growing number of Chinese graduates and professionals feel that domestic firms are a better bet than multinational companies in terms of job benefits.
A survey conducted during 2010 and 2011 by Li Hongbin, a professor at the School of Economics and Management at Tsinghua University, shows that about half of those surveyed chose SOEs as their ideal workplace.
Despite foreign-funded organizations offering better pay, the survey says that the majority of Chinese employees consider State-owned enterprises as the ideal job destination.
Western companies have for long held the upper hand in recruiting top professionals by offering higher positions, better benefits and the possibility of overseas assignments. But that advantage is fast diminishing.
According to a survey conducted by Korn/Ferry Institute, one of the world’s largest executive search firms, Chinese companies are now luring talented managers and executives from multinationals by offering generous compensation, more decision-making power and a faster career track.
“They (multinational companies) did not anticipate that Chinese companies would poach their critical managerial talents,” the report says.
But with global economic power shifting from the West to the East, domestic companies have also begun to offer higher compensation, better working conditions and career advancement opportunities, in many cases far better than those provided by the multinational companies.
Wang Xiuli, a professor at the Business School of the University of International Business and Economics in Beijing, says the halo of multinational companies is slipping and the days are gone when salaries at foreign companies were several times higher than those at the State-owned and private companies.
“Domestic firms have demonstrated their competitive strength both at home and abroad, and they have become more attractive by offering salaries and bonus packages that are competitive with their foreign counterparts,” she says.
A generous salary is certainly a strong motivation for employees switching jobs, but a gain from a possible IPO (initial public offering) seems to be even more attractive.
Smaller local startups with the potential for rapid growth in the Chinese market offer handsome payment and stock options for their employees.
Success stories like the IPOs of Youku.com and Dangdang.com have triggered interest among young professionals to work for early stage and pre-IPO companies in China, as in many cases the employees have made handsome financial gains.
The Korn/Ferry Institute polled 43 senior executives and managers working in China and found 45 percent of them would consider joining a pre-IPO Chinese company, while 30 percent wanted to work for publicly traded Chinese enterprises.
Many foreign companies have taken a considerable beating due to the global financial turmoil and have been forced to curtail their overseas operations and trim jobs to keep the overall costs under control. On the other hand, Chinese firms have been on a hiring overdrive, thanks to the booming Chinese economy.
Many Chinese employees also feel that their career would stall after a certain point at MNC firms as the higher management jobs are often reserved for expatriates.
Luo Rui, who works as a department manager at an Italian food and beverage company, says she wants to work with a Chinese company as she feels that local employees and managers are often excluded from strategic discussions, while many of the senior positions are for foreign staff.
“It’s unfair and sometimes it means a lack of opportunities to prove our worth,” she says.
State-owned enterprises overtook foreign and private enterprises as the top destination for job-seeking graduates in 2011, according to a survey of 200,000 students conducted by ChinaHR.com. Eight of the top 10 companies named in the survey are State-owned.
Sophie Li, marketing director of RMG International Business Consulting (Beijing) Co Ltd, a recruitment consulting company, says most of the young recruits are eager to get on the fast track. Domestic companies can offer them “skip-level” promotions that put them straight into jobs with senior positions and expanded responsibilities.
“Young professionals are keen to see a clear leadership development path, and domestic firms with faster growth can offer more rapid promotion, a more challenging environment and greater decision-making power than some foreign companies,” she says. “All these factors are something that potential employees will consider, because they tend to think more about the long term rather than the short term.”
Read the whole article: http://europe.chinadaily.com.cn/epaper/2012-08/31/content_15723754.htm
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