Mainland China’s employers confident they can find the talent they need in 2018 despite continuing skill shortages


•98 per cent of employers say skill shortages could hamper operations to some degree in 2018
•Up-skilling employees is the most popular way of combating skill shortages
•74 per of organisations confident they can find the talent they need in 2018 despite shortages
Most employers in Mainland China are confident they can somehow find the talent they need in the coming year despite admitting skill shortages could impact their business in 2018, according to recruiting experts Hays.
More than 3,000 organisations in five key Asian countries employing more than six million people were quizzed about recruitment and candidate trends for the year ahead as part of research revealed in the newly released, 2018 Hays Asia Salary Guide.
When asked if skill shortages have the potential to hamper the effective operation of their business or department in the year ahead, 61 per cent of Mainland China organisations answered “without doubt” while another 37 per cent expect some negative impact.
“Finding the right talent in 2018 will be critical for companies wanting to take advantage of Mainland China’s more buoyant economic outlook. We expect competition for quality candidates to intensify as companies pull out all the stops to position for growth in the year ahead,” says Simon Lance, Managing Director of Hays Greater China.
“Mainland China’s business community has weathered challenging economic conditions in recent years and are resilient, so perhaps it is not surprising that despite most holding concerns about the threat posed by skills shortages, 74 per cent of companies are confident they will somehow find the talent they need,” he said.
“Our guide reveals that up-skilling existing employees is the most popular strategy for countering skill shortages but other methods include developing better ways to attract new employees and internal transfers.”
“Hiring from overseas is not easy but 60 per cent of companies in Mainland China told us they would be willing to use this option to fill a role in a skill short area in the coming year.”
“Employers will need to stay open to the best ways to recruit, but also retain employees as competition for talent will be fierce in 2018 from other employers in Mainland China, but also the region. It is worth noting that 61 per cent of candidates in Mainland China taking part in the 2018 Hays Salary Guide research are willing to relocate for a job,” said Simon.
Having enough staff to hit business objectives
The 2018 Hays Asia Salary Guide shows fewer employers believe they have the talent they need to achieve current business objectives – 66 per cent versus 70 per cent the previous year.
Employers in Mainland China have found it particularly difficult to recruit in the following areas as reported:
•Middle management R&D roles,
•Middle Management sales roles,
•Middle Management engineering roles,
•Middle management marketing roles
•Middle management operations roles.
In a new question this year, we asked employers how confident they are about being able to recruit the candidates with the skills they need over the next 12 months. Only eight per cent are “very confident” while 74 per cent are “confident”. However 16 per cent are “not very confident” about finding the talent they need and two per cent are “not at all confident”.
Action to counter skill shortages 
In terms of the action employers have taken to counter skill shortages, 37 per cent are up-skilling existing employees, 26 per cent are improving attraction strategies such as increasing their recruitment budget and 16 per cent plan to use internal transfers.
Over the coming year, 60 per cent of companies say they are willing to employ/sponsor a candidate from overseas to fill a role in a skill short area while 40 per cent are not willing to hire from overseas.
Counter offers as a retention tool 
13 per cent of Mainland China companies have a policy of counter offering employees when they resign compared to 12 per cent last year. A further 65 per cent will make counter offers “sometimes” (up from 50 per cent in our previous survey) while 22 per cent of companies never make counter offers.
When asked what percentage of staff that resigned was made a counter-offer, most employers (92 per cent) answered up to 25 per cent. Only seven per cent of employers answered 26 to 50 per cent and one per cent answered 51 per cent to 100 per cent.
How Mainland China compares with competitor countries
While in Mainland China, 66 per cent of employers are confident they have the talent they need to meet current business objectives, in Japan only 34 per cent of employers share that confidence with 66 per cent saying they are not confident.
Hong Kong companies are the most confident with 74 per cent reporting they have the talent they need to meet current business objectives followed by those in Malaysia at 71 per cent compared to only 68 per cent in Singapore.
Looking ahead, 61 per cent of employers in Mainland China say that “without doubt” skill shortages have the potential to hamper business operations in 2018 and another 37 per cent fear some negative impact is likely.
In Japan, 47 per cent of employers say skills shortages pose a threat “without doubt” while half expect some impact. Malaysian employers are evenly split at 48 per cent while in Hong Kong half of the employers expect some impact and 39 per cent are “without doubt” about the threat posed by skill shortages. In Singapore, 45 per cent say yes “without doubt” and 49 per cent say “there will be some impact”.
Get your copy of the 2018 Hays Asia Salary Guide by visiting or by contacting your local Hays office.
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