China HR Insights

Hosted by: Delphi Siemens

Matthew Chapman, CEO of The Chapman Consulting Group, has just completed his latest China trip to Shanghai and Beijing, in October, and shares his latest observations on the China HR market. The Chapman Consulting Group works very closely with Global Chief HR Officers in building their China HR team capability.

Some latest thoughts are as follows:

  1. The thirst for learning amongst higher potential members of the HR community in Beijing and Shanghai remains impressive. Relative to other parts of the Asia region, we feel there is a greater zest to learn both the latest HR strategies from around the world but also, most importantly, from each other.
  2. We are seeing a greater shift of both regional and global HR roles into China. More organisations are double hatting global HR business roles or specialist roles with country HR roles. This is partly due to business growth and partly to aid talent retention (where the talent isn’t wanting to move outside of China).
  3. HR salaries have been growing considerably and, for senior roles, are eclipsing Singapore and Hong Kong. This has implications for companies wanting to staff senior HR roles in China versus these other locations resulting in more expensive hires there.
  4. Global HR teams all have their eyes on China. There is an incredibly large number of global HR decision makers now shuttling in and out of China on short-term assignments to learn the market. Chinese HR talents are being pulled into global headquarters proportionately less than global HR talent is coming to China.
  5. Inter-China movement of both HR and business talent is intensifying. HR talent is moving into Shanghai and Beijing from second tier cities, as opportunity intensifies. Conversely, high potential talent from these top tier locations are being moved out to lead HR in second tier strategies.
  6. Multinationals are becoming more flexible at moving HR talent into their organisations who are coming from non in-house HR backgrounds. The key demand is for “commercial” talent and this is forcing hiring leaders to look beyond typical HR talent. These individuals are coming from HR consulting firms, accounting firms and agency environments.
  7. Sabbaticals and career breaks are becoming more common in the HR profession in China. Particularly for those individuals who have moved rapidly upwards in their career and have “choice”. To retain these individuals, companies are needing to think flexibility.
  8. Scale and growth is becoming more of an issue when companies are hiring HR leaders. With many companies expecting to double or triple in size in the next few years, the demand is for HR leaders who can cope with this growth.
  9. The shortage of talent wanting to do specialist HR roles (rewards, Talent Acquisition, organisational development positions) is intensifying, so hiring these specialists is getting very expensive.


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