MRIC Group today officially announced the Mainland China release of its 2014 Talent Report: Greater China & Singapore.
The most illuminating findings for employers in this year’s report were the importance a business leader makes in both attracting and retaining talent. From active involvement in senior-level interviews to being seen as ethical and developing a compelling strategic vision, according to a majority of the 4,700 survey respondents, the role of a company’s top leadership has never been more critical to recruitment in Asia.
This year’s Talent Report, the group’s fourth annual, details the responses of 4,700 professionals region-wide in answering questions on the key motivators driving their career choices. Specifically, the report covers five critical questions: how talent assess a new employer, why talent change jobs, why talent stay in a job, which factors are most important in a ‘good’ employer, and how my current employer rates as a ‘good’ employer.
The most intriguing data in the survey, consistent with current research on leadership, is found when respondents defined a ‘good’ employer. Among respondents across all locations, industries, job levels, and genders, the leading factors were: ‘high integrity leadership’ (chosen as a Top 2 reason by 45% of survey takers), and ‘culture of trust and respect for employees’ (chosen by 26% of respondents).
While these two factors were a high priority across demographics, many survey-takers rated their current employers poorly on these measures. Only around 60% of survey takers said their own company was ‘good’ or ‘very good’ at providing ‘high integrity leadership’; while only 50% of companies succeeded in offering a ‘culture of trust and respect for employees’. Another area in which more than half of employers fell short in the eyes of professionals in Mainland China is ‘clear vision and business direction.’ In China, more private firms rated well in this dimension than did foreign firms (44% versus 41%), according to survey takers.
Learning points for employers: new demands from professionals
“The responses concerning what attracts talents and the factors that make a ‘good’ employer offer valuable learning points for employers in China,” said Angie Eagan, Managing Director, China, for MRIC Group. “We see a gap in the factors professionals truly value most, both in the recruitment process and in the attraction points of many employers. By closing this gap and focusing more attention on what matters most for employees—i.e. the leadership of the firm, a
culture of trust and respect for employees, the company’s strategic direction–employers stand to gain in both recruitment and retention.”
Talent Report data is analyzed and presented across several key matrices, making it particularly useful for employers. Companies can contrast and compare the answers of professionals by location (Mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Singapore), by industry (Banking & Financial Services, Consumer & Retail, Life Sciences, and Industrial & Technology), as well as by gender, job level, and company type (SOE versus private company or joint venture).
“The Talent Report offers a unique road map for employers across the Asia region because the data presented is collected directly from working professionals expressing the factors which actually drive their career decisions,” said Ms Eagan. “This year’s edition offers several highly useful findings which employers can directly use to improve their recruitment and retention strategies. MRIC Group looks forward to working closely with clients to leverage the insights of
the report and to work with our key clients to increase their hiring success rates for target candidates.”
Looking at the data on ‘how professionals assess a potential new employer,’ another of the most interesting results—again related to employer’s top management team– is the high priority professionals place on ‘meeting with senior leadership.’ Professionals chose this as the #1 criterion used to analyze a new company during the recruitment process. Other key factors include: company brand image (#2), interview with hiring manager (#3), and the job description/role brief (#4). In terms of brand building, in China, the company’s public image via Social Media was deemed most important during the assessment process, as compared with the company’s own channels and traditional media.
Key job-change motivator: clearer career path
In analyzing ‘why talent change jobs,’ consistent with prior years, the most-named reason was ‘increased compensation.’ However, Mainland Chinese professionals also gave a high rating to ‘clearer career path’ as compared with their peers in other markets, denoting a strong demand for clarity regarding career progression. ‘With the pace in China slowing down, talent now have less access to fast or easy promotions,” said Ms Eagan. “Thus, they expect more clarity on their advancement timelines from their current or future employers.”
Interestingly, the reasons why professionals stay in their current job differ from the key drivers for changing jobs in the weighting given to ‘work-life balance.’ China -based professionals still chose ‘opportunity to increase responsibility / challenges’ as the #1 motivator for continuing with the same employer (similar to the #2 reason to change jobs), However, they also ranked ‘work-life balance’ as a close #2 motivator, and women and junior professionals rated ‘work-life balance’ as the #1 reason to stay in a job.
In defining the expectations of employers in providing ‘work-life balance’, professionals seek a work environment where they can be more autonomous, as exemplified by the high rating given to ‘flexible work arrangements.’ Meanwhile, ‘manageable stress level’ was rated #1 in importance by senior management across sectors. In contrast, more junior professionals expressed a stronger preference for ‘work-life’ arrangements such as convenient office location, ability to work remotely, or other flexible work formulas. “The most valuable take-away for employers from this year’s Talent Report is to adapt their recruitment strategy to meet the true needs of the target professionals they hope to hire,” says Ms Eagan. “Adaptability and flexibility is a winning recruitment strategy.”