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Lack of skilled staff hindering growth

By Hu Yuanyuan  (China Daily)

09:56, February 21, 2013

More than one third of Chinese businesses are struggling to recruit skilled workers, posing a major challenge for their growth prospects, a report by international accounting firm Grant Thornton said on Wednesday.

Almost 50 percent of enterprises from industries such as technology have reported difficulties in hiring skilled workers, the report said.

The survey suggests a lack of general work skills and specific technical skills is the key factor making recruitment difficult.

"In such circumstances, job seekers should improve their general workplace skills in areas such as teamwork and communication and their specific technical skills in order to stand out in the fierce competition for employment," said Xu Hua, CEO of Grant Thornton China.

The Grant Thornton International Business Report revealed that 61 percent of businesses in China cite shortage of general work skills as the primary problem in recruitment and 55 percent of them cite a shortage of technical skills as the major concern.

Over half of both traditional industries — construction, food and beverage and healthcare — and emerging industries such as technology and business services, said that both factors hinder recruitment.

"The dilemma and difficulties in both obtaining employment and recruiting workers are still prominent," said Xu. On one hand, the labor market is saturated and the employment situation is still severe for graduates, and on the other hand, businesses find it difficult to recruit qualified labor.

"In the long term, businesses need to improve their own training programs which will be able to help staff's growth and deliver talent in a sustainable manner, rather than pinning their hopes on recruiting skilled workers from the talent market," he added.

Businesses are also worried about the upcoming "job-hopping" season. According to research, besides increasing the workload for the remaining staff, 32 percent of businesses said losing staff also results in loss of business orders and increases operating costs.

Hospitality enterprises are more worried than other businesses that a loss of staff may result in a fall in customer service standards, with 37 percent citing this as a concern.

And 25 percent of businesses in technology said staff losses will delay the development of new products or services, more than any other industry.

"A business is nothing without its people. A great team with an average plan will be far more successful than an average team with a great plan. With the upcoming job-hopping season, businesses need to do more communication work with its staff, and build up their talent pool at the same time," Xu added.

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