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Search for senior executives in China

By CCTV’s correspondent Xia Cheng (CNTV)

10:23, July 30, 2013

China’s senior managers are hot property, even as fresh graduates and middle managers face a shrinking job market. But along with the high salaries come high expectations.

To be part of China’s economic boom is the attraction for many returning Chinese professionals. Johnny Zhou, general manager from North China Division of Dongtian Fashion, left a logistics job in Australia in 2010 to start a new chapter of his career.Now he works in fashion.

Johnny says, "there some room for my own way of structuring the business, structuring the team, and also the main reason for this, is the company is moving fast, it’s heading to IPO, I wanna be part of it."

But for professional managers like Johnny, the job’s getting tougher as Chinese growth moderates.

Wei Zheng from Mercer says "in a stabilized economy, you really want professional managers who really understand the operation, really understand the business, and knows how to manage it. I think China lacks a significant amount of people who can do that."

It’s a competition among both employers and candidates. 75% major employers in China are currently hiring at the senior level, up from the first quarter of this year. But 28% of them are letting senior managers go, 4 percent higher than the average in Asia. To get the right person, companies are offering attractive packages--especially as the cost of living escalates.

Xia Cheng says, “working and living in China, is it still affordable? Well for weekday lunches, it seems ok. Like this typical combo of sandwich and coffee, around 10 US dollars, almost in line with New York and London. But if you include the rents for high-end apartment, transport, entertainment and all the other expenses, living in Shanghai or Beijing is much pricier.”

In a private ranking of living costs, Hong Kong and Shanghai are the most expensive cities in China, Beijing is high on the list -- all are in front of New York and London. No wonder companies are throwing out the big bucks -- but even that sometimes can’t fill roles because quality senior talent is so scarce.

Wei Zheng says, “they realize that. Many companies are focusing on internal training program first to equip the skill they require.”

In the meantime, many Chinese companies are seeking independent management advisers in their climb up the value ladder.

Steven Veldhoen from Booz & Company says, “if you think having a chair is good, it provides independent oversight, then yes, eventually you will separate the roles between chair and CEO. China is looking to build up its independent directors, and it’s time to do that.”

As employers become more flexible about hiring executives, managers are broadening their skills base to become more employable. Johnny’s move to the fashion industry allows him a strong say in the company’s growth -- and that, is what the China Dream is all about.

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