Greater China is the last region in the world to relax its COVID-19 border control measures. After 3 years of domestic lockdowns and travel restrictions, the workforce is looking for a quick recovery to remain competitive on the world stage.

Randstad’s 2022/2023 Greater China Talent Expectations and Workforce Trends report surveyed more than 6,000 respondents living and working in mainland China and Hong Kong SAR.

As a large and diverse region, talent expectations and workforce trends can vary across Greater China. Here are a few key trends that are currently shaping the job market in this region:

employees expect their employers to provide ongoing support and assistance

Over the past three years, organisations around Greater China have provided support to their workforce in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. Employees are allowed to work from home during lockdowns and enjoy greater well-being benefits from companies. Some employers have also gone a step further and offered their workforce grocery vouchers, care packages and food delivery services to support them during quarantine.

These support measures are greatly appreciated by employees and have set a new standard for employers seeking to attract and retain talent. As we learn that such benefits and initiatives are possible, organisations that want to stand out will need to continue to support their employees.

covid-19 changed talent landscape
covid-19 changed talent landscape

COVID-19 has changed the talent landscape forever. To drive growth as well as employee productivity and engagement, companies must navigate talent attraction and workforce management with empathy and support as they emerge from COVID-19 into an uncertain global economic environment. 

job seekers are always looking for better opportunities

Amid a volatile economy with numerous variables, changing jobs can be a rather challenging process. However, it seems like Hongkongers are not giving up their pursuit for a better job.

1. the search for a reputable employer

58% of Hongkongers accept job interviews because they want to work for an employer that has a strong and reputable brand. This does not necessarily mean that Hongkongers are narrowing their job search to multinational companies only.

The percentage of Hongkongers who are open to working for Unicorns have increased from 19% in 2022 to 30% in 2023.

Unicorns like Airwallex, FWD Insurance and Klook have established themselves as dependable, attractive and reputable companies to many job seekers. These companies have developed many new products and services since their inception that appeal to many consumers, and in turn, the workforce. They not only offer an open and supportive environment for employees to explore their career growth on their own, but also many other employee benefits and incentives, such as employee discounts and flexible performance bonuses.

To attract talent and build a skilled workforce, companies need to step up to create a compelling brand that talent can connect with and are attracted to. 

Creating a positive employee experience is the first step to enhancing a firm’s reputation and attracting top talent, as it shows that the company is able to walk the talk. This can be done through showcasing the company’s events and activities, employee recognition programmes, diversity and inclusivity initiatives as well as revising internal salary bands to reflect current talent expectations. 

These efforts demonstrate that the company values its employees and their contributions, which is a very powerful pull factor that many employees seek.

2. the search for career development opportunities

One of the key reasons why people look for a new employer is because they want to develop their skills and capabilities in areas where they may lack. Developing these skills can help talent secure higher paying jobs with bigger responsibilities in the future, which can help employees feel more fulfilled and satisfied with their work.

hongkongers job interviews for job scope
hongkongers job interviews for job scope

56% of Hongkongers go for interviews because the job offers a very interesting scope and opportunities to upskill. By the same tune, 45% of Hongkongers drop out during the interview process because they do not think that the job offers good development opportunities.

People are attracted to companies that offer opportunities for career growth and development. Highlighting the company’s training programmes, mentoring opportunities and career advancement paths during the job interview process shows that the employer is invested in its employees’ growth and development. It is a very strong incentive for top talent who are always looking for opportunities to learn and advance their careers.

3. the search for an ideal job can cross borders and regions

The search for a new job is not limited to Hong Kong SAR. 61% of Generation Z workers and 58% of Millennials said that they will consider job opportunities from other countries and regions. Of all the regions, Europe is most appealing to Hongkongers (50%), followed by the United States of America (41%) and Oceania (39%).

When asked to choose within the Greater China region, 30% of Hongkongers said that they prefer to work in the Greater Bay Area. New first-tier one cities like Chengdu, Chongqing and Qingdao appeal to 12% of Hongkongers.

The COVID-19 pandemic had made a significant impact on the job market and the way people view work. People may seek jobs in other countries and regions as a way to travel and experience new cultures after being cooped up for an extended period of time.

They may also be motivated to find a job in other countries that offer more flexible work arrangements, shorter work weeks or more generous leave days. In Sweden, for example, parental benefit is paid for 480 days for one child, which can be split between two partners. In France, a law requires companies with more than 50 employees to establish hours of when staff should not send or answer emails to restore work-life balance.

talent are doing more research before making any life-changing decisions

According to the survey, key trends include job seekers doing more research about the company they want to work for before they make a decision. The information that job seekers want to learn about are the company’s salary bands and compensation package, career progression opportunities, work environment and even the personalities of their potential team mates, managers and stakeholders.

talent researches job and company
talent researches job and company

These pieces of information play a critical role in any individual’s career decision process. It helps them determine if the company is able to support them in meeting their career aspirations or work-life balance. For example, a parent from a young family would likely prefer to work for a company that offers flexible working hours so that they can drop off and pick up their kids from school without having to seek extra help.

Talent may also have a preference to work for a company that invests in hardware and software so that they have more opportunities to develop their digital skills through exposure to new technologies.

During the job search process, talent are searching for independent reviews online on websites and asking alumni on forums like Fishbowl and Reddit. They will also reach out to specialised recruiters to gain a more in-depth understanding of the talent demand for someone at their level and the appropriate salary they should negotiate for their next job. This enables them to set realistic expectations when pursuing their next employment.

download the 2022-2023 greater china talent expectations and workforce trends report

Talent expectations will not remain the same after the global pandemic. As new opportunities arise, the workforce is also facing new challenges in their careers. Employers that step up and rise to the occasion to meet these new and evolving candidate demands will stand out from the crowd and be more successful in attracting and retaining key talent.

key highlights from the report:

  • top reasons why talent are motivated to look for new employment opportunities in Greater China
  • differences between mainland Chinese and Hongkongers and how companies can adjust their employer brand strategies to attract talent
  • guide to creating a positive talent experience for more successful recruitment results

The talent expectations and workforce trends report is available for free download here:

The 2022/2023 Greater China Talent Expectations and Workforce Trends report highlights the latest talent data from an online survey conducted with more than 6,000 respondents who are living and working in Greater China markets between September and October 2022. Out of all the respondents surveyed, 1,137 reside and work in Hong Kong SAR.

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