Airbus steps up efforts to recruit talent in China

09/11/15

Permalink 11:06:28 am, by dacare, 731 words, 403 views   English (US)
Categories: News of China, Recruiting & HR Tips and Practices

Airbus steps up efforts to recruit talent in China

China is poised to become the world's leading country for passenger air traffic, and the market has already become an important region for global aircraft manufacturers.

Consequently, recruiting talent in China has become crucial for them to make their businesses more sustainable.

Airbus Group, the France-based aircraft manufacturer, and Tsinghua University will launch the 2015 China Summer University event on Monday, as part of Airbus Group's University Partnership Program.

The event is the first organized in China since the program's launch in 2014.

"Closely cooperating with top-tier universities and building up a good partnership will ensure absorbing more and more talent for our industry in the future," Philippe Pezet, Airbus Group China Vice President Human Resources, told the Global Times in an interview earlier in September.

Pezet made the remark ahead of the Beijing Air Show, which will open on Wednesday.

Recruitment

In July, Airbus signed a framework agreement to set up an A330 Completion and Delivery Center in Tianjin with its Chinese partners. The center will cover aircraft completion activities including reception, cabin installation, aircraft painting, engine runs and flight tests.

The plant is expected to create 250 to 300 jobs over the long term.

The jobs are part of the company's expansion in China as Airbus said it has about 1,550 employees in the country, including those in Tianjin, Beijing and Harbin, Northeast China's Heilongjiang Province.

"We have high standards. We want people who can speak English. We would like to have people with leadership capabilities, and we would like to have people with the potential to grow and to evolve," Pezet said.

A few of the positions will be occupied by expatriates because a certain number of expatriates will be needed to train the new Chinese employees, Pezet said. Still, expatriates will make up less than 10 percent of the workers at the facility.

The average turnover rate at Airbus China was 6-7 percent in 2014, or about half the national average.

But Pezet remains unsatisfied with the figure, which is still far higher than Europe's average turnover rate of 2.5 percent. He said a turnover rate of 5 percent "would be better."

"We are not recruiting people to hold one position for only a few years. We invest in somebody. We will do our best to develop people, to train, to grow. In terms of selection, we are very cautious and very demanding," Pezet said.

In the next two decades, the average annual growth rate for the domestic Chinese market will be 7.1 percent, though it will grow even faster over the next decade at 8.3 percent on average per year, according to a report released by Airbus in December.

The report also said domestic air traffic in China will become the world's highest within a decade.

Mobility

Working for a multinational company means more opportunities to advance, and it is an important measure to keep the talent in the company.

Airbus usually first offers these opportunities to employees who have worked at the company for at least five years.

The overall goal is for 10 percent of the staff to change jobs every year. That could mean simply changing positions within a division or changing divisions within the group, or even changing the country where they work.

"We started at 1 percent, and last year, we did 6 percent. Our objective for 2015 in China is 8 percent," Pezet said.

However, he said there are lots of obstacles to mobility in China, and accepting geographical mobility is a challenge here. Hukou can be one of constraints on mobility, which is something very specific to China. Europe doesn't have the same constraints.

Challenges

Several years ago, multinationals were seen as desirable places for employees. Nowadays, things are different, as State-owned companies are getting more competitive, and those companies are also in the process of instituting a global management style and offering more and more international positions, which pose a challenge for multinationals in terms of recruitment.

"We face some departures, resignations from people who are willing to move to State-owned companies, so it's complicated and more challenging for us," Pezet said, though he remains confident the company can attract more people.

Still, Pezet worries that very experienced talent is still in short supply in China, as the country's aerospace industry employment market is less mature than that in Europe.

"It's kind of a war for getting experienced people due to the pressure and tension on the job market," Pezet told the Global Times.

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