Executive Search in China Is Flying High Like the Eagle

January 28, 2008: 13 Years since Cornerstone International Group – China Team International established the very first Shanghai China Team office in 1995 (now 6 Cornerstone – China Team offices across Greater China).

China’s growth as we all know in the past decade or so has been phenomenal. This growth is gradually extending overseas. Chinese companies are building their share of foreign markets through overseas acquisitions. Another popular route for this outreach is through IPOs on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, or elsewhere. The demand for human capital to fuel this overwhelming growth has never been more robust.

Trust, Professionalism, and Price

It may be true to say that almost all from the search industry globally now have a presence in China. They may be in the form of alliances with local firms, representative offices, or joint ventures and enabling local incorporation of the business. Due to the high demand, and not so high supply of the talent pool has meant that the fight for good talent is fiercely competitive.

Trust is top of the list in what employers seek in professional head hunting firms. Trust in knowing that promises will be kept, and that expectations will be met in terms of timely delivery of desired results, transparency in the process, and good communication throughout.

Professionalism is another priority, as the head hunting firm is the ambassador for the employer in the market, and the ways candidates are managed reflect on the image of the employer. A personal service in terms of a close working relationship with the consultant is also valued by employers.

Price is another priority, whereby cost effectiveness is a major consideration for all employers.

Differentiation by Market Leaders in the Executive Search Industry

‘What makes you special when compared to other head hunting firms?’ is a question often asked by employers in China. After all, the services on offer appear very similar from one top firm to another.

Trust, professionalism, and price as mentioned above are the basic ingredients. China Team, as a premier retained search firm in Greater China offers more than executive search. In successfully pioneering a holistic business model which translates to after placing leaders with clients, the support continues through the Leadership Academy and Best Practice programmes. After-all, the client’s success is the search firm’s success.

Common Hurdles Companies Face When in Need of Top Ranking Staff

Shortage of well qualified talents is a major hurdle. A current example is for suitably experienced finance people. They are in great demand in Hong Kong and China, due to the huge volume of business especially in the IPO area. At the same time, one must not forget that China is an emerging market, and that local talent would have enjoyed a maximum of only around 10-15 years of business exposure in the international sense. This translates to those holding the same position title as their western counterparts may in fact be less qualified in terms of experience and exposure.

Another hurdle would be the retaining of top talent in China. Opportunities are plentiful, especially in this progressive era of ‘localization’ by foreign employers, and local corporations seeking to grow and engaging talent with the international exposure. Attractive compensation with an increase of up to 30% is not uncommon in a job change. Good career prospects, as well as training and development opportunities are also important.

Last but not least, the location of the job is becoming a challenge. The eastern seaboard of China – Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou are popular destinations. Second tier cities such as Chengdu and Wuhan in the west, Qingdao and Dalian in the north, Dongguan in the south are more of a challenge to attract top talent. When it comes to third tier cities, then the battle really begins.

The Eagle Continues To Fly High

Be that as it may, the executive search industry in China will continue to fly high as an Eagle – majestic, free, just, commands respect as a leader in the avian community, and towers above all else when gracefully gliding the currents in the air. China Team likewise feels close affinity with the Eagle, in professionalism in our practice, honesty and integrity in all our interactions, able to keep the wider vision of markets and the executive search industry, being the leader and commanding respect from others, and building long term relationships with our clients and candidates.

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