Local Chinese talent proves competitive for expat workers

Published:  3 Dec at 6 PM
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Tagged: China, Jobs
In spite of threats to their jobs from local upcoming Chinese talent, most expat workers in China are determined to retain their jobs and lifestyles.

A recent survey by the Association of Executive Search Consultants revealed that, despite competition from up-and-coming Chinese executives, the 72 per cent who have been employed for over three years are determined to stay. Most respondents noted that more recent expat arrivals were younger and from more diverse countries than previously.

Fifty expat general management executives and chief executive officers were surveyed, with all admitting they were facing serious competition from their Chinese counterparts. Most stated that it was now more difficult to achieve executive positions, with 42 per cent stating that employers were now favouring local talent.

An impressive 79 per cent also noted that the gap between expat and local executives’ compensation packages was narrowing. According to David Guo, CEO of Heidrick and Struggles (China), foreign companies with offices in China are now preferring local executives over expats for leading roles.

Guo stresses that, in the 30 years since China opened up to the West, many more Chinese are spending time abroad and learning English fluently, making language no longer a barrier to jobs in overseas companies. He adds that expat executives are still strong in international operations, but local executives are able to deal more effectively with Chinese culture and markets.

According to the CEO of CTPartners, Brian Sullivan, a deep understanding of the Chinese market is a priority, with local candidates taking preference over regional executives, whatever their language skills and cultural understanding. However, despite the developments, the market in China for expats executives is still getting stronger, with 51 per cent of those surveyed saying they were actively searching for new opportunities and 30 per cent open to offers.
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