Category: Opinion and View


Permalink 02:43:43 pm, by dacare, 704 words, 507 views   English (US)
Categories: Opinion and View

Ideal job offers more than money

What makes an ideal employer for white-collar employees has changed over the years, a report found.

The factors in this changing perception are not all strictly work-related as inflation, general welfare and high property prices also play a role, the report jointly released by and Beijing University's Institute of Social Science Survey showed.

The annual report was published on Dec 13, together with a list of what are considered to be the top 30 best employers in China.

The survey conducted interviews in 2,132 companies in 17 industries, mostly in first- and second-tier cities.

"Compared with two years ago, white-collar workers are not just focused on high salaries but want more of a welfare package," said Zhu Hongyan, a senior career consultant at, one of the country's biggest job-hunting websites.

"They also care more about whether they can get respect, and enjoy good working relationships in the office, rather than simply promotion opportunities, as in the past," she added.

Xu Jianhong, 25, graduated from a top university in Nanjing in 2011 and began work at a leading consulting firm in Shanghai.

"My salary is considered high compared to my classmates, and that's the main reason I chose the job," he said. "But now I find it not worthwhile as the working hours are too long, and there is no work-life balance. I don't have a hukou (household registration) so I cannot enjoy the benefits that come with it."

Xu said that in a year or two, he will consider changing jobs to a more stable company, preferably a State-owned company (SOE) as they have better welfare packages.

"I don't regret the choice I made as I acquired a great many job skills and the relationships within the company are good, with no hierarchy, no bureaucracy. We can discuss issues with the big boss anytime," he said, wondering whether any new job would offer such a pleasant environment.

"If I change and work in an SOE, I worry that the environment within the company will be different and I will have a hard time getting used to the hidden rules."

Xu's opinion was echoed by many of his peers.

Liang Lin, 29, graduated with a master's degree in business from a top university. She has changed jobs three times over the past five years, and said her preference has changed as well.

"The first job I had was with a US insurance company," she said. "It was good pay but long hours."

She wanted a better work-life balance, where she has time to do the things she wants to do.

Now she is representing her company, which is an SOE, as it opens a joint venture with a local company in Shanghai.

"I have more free time, and I get a good social welfare package," she said. "I can do things I enjoy."

Zhu, the career consultant, explained that this change is in line with the theory of Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs. Maslow was a US psychologist who published a well-known paper in 1943 that prioritized human needs.

"This shows that an employee needs develop from basic physiological to higher psychological needs, as the theory explained," she said. "Maslow describes this level as the desire to accomplish everything that one can, to become the most that one can be."

Zhu also explained that SOEs, as they have a market monopoly in certain industries, can provide employees with better welfare packages, including hukou, medical care, children's education and perhaps housing. That complete package, which is hard to get even if a worker has a high salary, is more attractive nowadays.

"As a fresh graduate, I believed that money talked, but now I realize the importance of work-life balance, and the process of self-actualization. To do what you want to do and be allowed to do so is truly a blessing," said Li Xinyuan, who has worked with a US law firm since 2010 after graduating with a law degree from an Ivy-league university in the US.

Her monthly income is double that of her peers who work in SOEs but she said she feels that the money alone is not reward enough.

Li is thinking of getting a PhD degree and then teaching.

"That is more meaningful to me," she said.

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Permalink 01:43:08 pm, by dacare, 149 words, 417 views   English (US)
Categories: News of China, Opinion and View

Career development main reason for job-hopping

Career development and more room for personal growth are the primary reasons that Chinese change their jobs, global recruitment consultancy Robert Walters reported on Tuesday.

Eighty-one percent of the 400 Chinese respondents surveyed said they will change jobs in 2014. Of those, 47.1 percent said the reason was to seek more room for personal growth, while 20.2 percent of them sought promotions in new companies, according to the Robert Walters 2014 Global Salary Survey.

Salary increase, though not weighing as much now as in the past, is still a significant driver of job-hopping. People who stay in their current position can expect a salary increase of between 8 and 10 percent. But for those who change jobs, salaries can jump 15 to 25 percent.

Arthur Wang, managing director of Robert Walters China, said employers should help their employees to map out a clear career path. "If promises are not kept, employees will definitely leave the company," he said.

Sponsor Link: The leading executive search firm in China


Permalink 08:54:04 am, by dacare, 341 words, 573 views   English (US)
Categories: News of China, Opinion and View

Why do most Chinese dislike their jobs?

Judging by the survey data, many Chinese workplaces are black holes of misery and despair.

Only 6% of Chinese employees said they are "engaged" in their jobs, according to a global Gallup survey released this month. China's numbers equal the numbers out of war-weary Iraq.

Workers across all income levels and industries were surveyed by Gallup in China, defined by Gallup to mean they were "psychologically committed to their jobs and likely to be making positive contributions to their organisations".

Out of 94 countries polled, only six countries scored lower rates of job engagement than China, including Tunisia, Israel and Syria. Unsurprisingly, 0% of Syrians admitted to being engaged at work.

In a related survey, China ranked near the bottom in a poll measuring job satisfaction among 22 Asian countries. Only 49% of Chinese respondents said they were happy in their jobs.

Part of the problem, I suspect, is that very few in China have the luxury of pursuing a career that truly interests them.

Even university graduates often feel they have no choice but to opt for positions with the government or state-run enterprises, since those jobs are thought to be stable and recession-proof.

That makes those who are happy at work in China a rare find indeed.

The BBC's ongoing My Day series tracked a typical day in a selection of people across Asia who are immersed in rewarding jobs, including some from China - a maternity nurse and a jack of all trades designer.

The latest instalment in the series tracks the work of a Chinese genealogist. Huihan Lie runs the company My China Roots in Beijing, which traces family histories and tries to put them in the context of the time.

"With every project, you find things you weren't expecting to find and the client wasn't expecting to find," he says. "Really, every person has their own little quirks and personal stories."

We'll continue to add to this series over the next few months. If you have any suggestions of interesting careers you think we should track, please add your comments below.

Sponsor Link: The leading executive search firm in China


Permalink 09:46:59 am, by dacare, 773 words, 597 views   English (US)
Categories: Opinion and View

Negotiating Employee Contracts in China

Regardless of what business you are in or where you operate, it is great employees that make a great company. While hiring great employees can be a challenge anywhere, the process of recruiting, retaining and terminating employees is especially tricky in China.

First, let’s dispel the common misconception that labor is cheaper in China. That’s arguably still true for factory workers, but skilled staffers draw significant salaries. At first glance, the numbers may seem deceptively low. A skilled office manager, for example, is paid a monthly salary of $1,000 to $2,500 in China, compared to $3,750 to $5,000 for a comparable position in Arizona, where my American business is headquartered. But in China, employers pay additional taxes on these wages in the form of “social insurance.” The rates vary by province, but in Shanghai, where I do business, the cost is 44 percent above the base salary.

So for a worker earning $2,000 per month, the cost to the employer will actually be $2,880. Additionally, it is customary at the Chinese New Year to give employees a 13th month of pay — including social insurance — for 12 months of work. Amortize that over the year and it raises the monthly cost to $3,120, which is creeping up toward the American pay scale.

Some may argue that there’s a qualitative difference in employee abilities between the two countries, but my experience is that the best people in China are equal in skill to their American counterparts.

Another critical thing to note is that job descriptions in China need to be much more detailed than those in the United States. Being as specific as possible in the labor contract about your expectations is imperative to establishing good working relationships with your Chinese employees. Simply including a sentence at the end of a job description that says “other duties as directed by your supervisor” will not suffice.

For example, in the United States, we think nothing of requiring an American office manager to wash his or her own coffee cup at the end of the day, but in China, the expectation is that an “ayi” — literally, it means “auntie,” but we would call her a maid — cleans up after everyone. In addition, a male employee may view typing a report as woman’s work — and thus beneath his position. That’s why it’s critical to be completely clear about a job’s specific tasks during the job interview and contract negotiations.

Arizona is a right-to-work state, so adjusting to China’s employment-contract system has been challenging for me. I have found that the best bet is to keep a close eye on details. Here are two basics that should be checked carefully, because they change often, sometimes several times a year:

• Term length: All employees get contracts, and they are issued in one-, two- or three-year terms.

• Probation: The one-year contract allows a probation of 30 days for an employee, the two-year contract allows 90 days of probation and six months’ of probation on a three-year contract.

In the probationary period you can terminate an employee without penalty; however, changes to this system are coming soon, so it’s smart for you to have a system to check contracts when necessary.

The best resources to keep you on the good side of Chinese labor law are your labor lawyers, who will update you when rules change. You definitely need a lawyer to represent your company. Labor contracts tend to be one-sided, and they really only govern how you will treat your employees with little impact on how your employees will treat you.

For example, if an employee has a three-year contract, he or she is not penalized for leaving before the contract ends. But if you decide to terminate an employee, you will need to pay one month for every year remaining on the contract, plus a prorated annual bonus. If you fire a staff member in the ninth month of a three-year contract, you will pay four months of salary. Failure to do so will land you in labor court. I’ll cover that in my next entry.

It sounds temping to go with a short contract, but I’ve found that it doesn’t really allow enough time to judge whether a new hire has the necessary skills and will fit into the corporate culture. For management positions, we use a three-year contract – with six months of probation – and for other positions we use a two-year term.

Think of the time you and your staff spend writing up detailed job descriptions and combing through the contractual fine print as an investment in peace of mind. Proper planning will spare you sleepless nights.

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Permalink 01:18:18 pm, by dacare, 446 words, 459 views   English (US)
Categories: News of China, Opinion and View

China's crazy property bubble

Cui Shufeng is a retired government worker in Beijing. She is one of the lucky homeowners who bought her place long before the housing sector galloped out of reach for the average Chinese salary worker.

"It is ridiculously high," she says pointing to apartments in her neighborhood. "These homes near the school here are CNY 70,000 (USD$11,400) per square meter. It's not even worth 7000 yuan (USD$ 1140) per square meter because it's not even good quality."

Her concern is on the radar of the central leadership that is expected to discuss economic reforms at the plenary session starting Saturday. For Chinese leaders, the property sector is an emotional and political hot potato. The dream to own a home is a far out of reach for tens of millions of Chinese citizens.

In the latest housing data, new home prices for September rose at the fastest pace in almost three years. In Beijing, new home prices were up 16%, Shanghai 17% and Shenzhen 20% from a year ago.

"The problem is Chinese people have very few investment vehicles. They've lost trust in the stock market so they turn to real estate," says Xu Si Tao, China Director of the Economist Intelligence Unit.

Xu says the central leadership needs to make bold steps in financial reforms to give citizens more options to invest their money.
One measure China is considering is to allow banks to set their own interest rates, creating more competition.

I was in Beijing two weeks ago and visited a luxury villa compound. It was a large site with tens of dozens of completed but mostly empty villas. A worker in the sales office told me the average home was priced at CNY 23 million (USD$3.8 million) and most were sold. He said half were owner-occupied (though I saw very little sign of residents) and the other half purchased as investments.

I was told the supermarket in the center of the compound was open and often used by residents. It was clearly still under construction. When I pointed this out, I was then told the grand opening would be next year. Message: The bubble is alive and growing. These villas are a pretty -- and by most appearances, empty -- place to park money.

Cui shakes her head at the dilemma facing the government. She doesn't believe recent curbs will work like a ban on third home loans in Shanghai.

"I don't think home prices will drop sharply because our economy is still doing okay," she says. "Our child bought a home in the U.S. recently. The price was about the same as a flat in Beijing, but the area is a lot bigger and the quality is much better."

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Permalink 02:25:34 pm, by dacare, 517 words, 455 views   English (US)
Categories: Opinion and View

Is 51job a Better Buy Than LinkedIn or Monster?

They're hiring in China, and 51job is making the most of its market leadership in online recruitment services.

The Chinese company that got its start inserting regional job listings in local Chinese newspapers before expanding into the more lucrative realm of cyberspace posted another quarter of growth after yesterday's market close. Revenue climbed 12% to a better than expected $68.6 million, fueled by a 15% spike in online recruiting. That was held back by 51job's original print business that continues to scale back in scope. 51job once served more than two dozen of China's biggest newspapers with weekly job listings, but it's now retreated to just four publications.

Shifting from print to the Internet has historically beefed up 51job's margins, but not this time. Net income inched just 4% higher to the equivalent of $0.64 per ADS. That's in line with Wall Street expectations, and that's actually a good thing. It's the first time this year that 51job doesn't fall short on the bottom line.

This has been a surprisingly strong performer over the years, more than tripling since I recommended it to Motley Fool Rule Breakers newsletter service subscribers three years ago.

Stateside investors may have a hard time wrapping their heads around a growing provider of online recruitment that isn't in the LinkedIn mold of social networking. Domestic leader Monster Worldwide -- which has struggled in 51job's turf with its diminishing stake in -- has been a disappointment for growth stock investors.

Monster reported an 11% decline in revenue for the same three months this morning. The market was braced for the decline, and the stock actually moved higher on the news. But during the same three-year run that has seen 51job more than triple, we've seen Monster shed nearly two-thirds of its value.

LinkedIn has naturally fared well. The career-oriented social networking giant saw revenue during the same quarter soar 56%, and adjusted earnings grew even faster. But here's where the valuation appeal of 51job may sway some investors who are reluctant to buy into China's booming employment scene.

51job may not be cheap at 25 times next year's earnings, but it's a bargain when pitted against LinkedIn's multiple of 99 times next year's profit target. There are regulatory concerns in China, and that's partly weighing on the stock this morning, but it's hard not to like 51job's prospects as a proven Wall Street winner.

Given 51job's consistent growth over the years -- and its guidance calls for another quarter of double-digit revenue growth for the new quarter -- it may just be the better stock at getting the job done in your portfolio.

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