Talent Mobility in China Survey: Volume Remains Stable, Focus on Local Talent Development Rising

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Worldwide ERC®, the workforce mobility association, has released the findings of its 2016 Talent Mobility in China survey. Worldwide ERC® analyzed assignment volume and location activity, trends impacting mobility policy and key challenges in the region.

Highlights of the results include:

Mobility Volume Remains Stable, Trend Expected to Continue

  • A majority of companies report moves into China, localization of expatriate employees, and moves of Chinese nationals outside of the country all generally remained stable or increased in 2015 and that these trends are expected to continue in 2016.
  • Shanghai (87 percent) and Beijing (57 percent) remain the top two destinations for expats. While Guangzhou and Fuzhou tied for third place in a 2013 survey, this year’s results show Guangzhou and Shenzhen tying for third place, at 20 percent each.

Cost-control Goals Result in Focus on Assignment Types, Developing Local Talent

  • A clear majority of respondents cite high levels of pressure from management to reduce assignment costs.
  • Developing local talent continues to be a key component of companies’ cost-control strategies.  When asked to rank various cost-lowering measures “reducing the number of traditional long-term assignments” and “increasing the focus on training local talent” were the top two, used to a “high degree” by 55 percent and 49 percent of respondents, respectively.

Top Mobility Challenges: Environmental Concerns and Family Resistance

  • Environmental concerns are the most frequently cited significant challenge to moving expatriates into China (indicated by 56 percent for long-term assignments, 52 percent for permanent moves and 44 percent for short-term assignments), while “family resistance to moving” ranks as the most frequently cited significant challenge to moving Chinese nationals within China (cited by 48 percent for long-term assignments and 54 percent for permanent moves).

“Companies need agile, skilled workforces to respond to rapidly changing opportunities and fulfill their strategic goals.  As the Chinese economy transitions from one driven by export growth to one of internal innovation, the required skill sets are changing.  Businesses are meeting new demands with a balance of flexible assignee programs and a greater focus on developing local talent,” says Peggy Smith, SCRP, SGMS-T, President and CEO of Worldwide ERC®.  “Our survey findings support that this combined approach is helping organizations fill critical talent needs and skills gaps.”

Conducted in January 2016, this survey includes data from 163 companies representing 24 industries. Complete survey results are available on a complimentary basis to corporate human resource and government agency members of Worldwide ERC®.  Please visit www.Worldwideerc.org/Research for more information.

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