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HR: Get the Mind-changing Project Started
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During the periods of the so called ’golden September’ and ‘silver October’ in the Chinese proverb, which means a good time for people to look for new job opportunities, the job market in China is full of vitality and vigour. Back in the 1960s, most Chinese people took jobs that they expected to do for their whole lives. This perseverance and sense of responsibility have built a solid generation. The senior generation now describe the young as quite unsettled and ‘picky’ about work. It makes sense to some extent for the old generation in China to place a high value on stability. However, to view the issue in modern China, I think it’s time for people to refresh their views about career development and job changing.

Having worked in the headhunting and recruiting business for quite a few years now, I found an increasing number of Chinese people starting to understand that people change jobs for quite a lot of different reasons, which may include payment issues, promotion space, company culture, leadership style, job content, company location, social benefits, work environment, as well as family influence. In this regard, I believe that figuring out the fundamental elements of job changing is the key for Chinese to start the mind-changing process.

According to the 2013 China Talent Flow Survey (TFS) report conducted by RMG Selection, general interviewees consider salary raises, promotion and company culture to be the three primary factors that impact people’s career change decisions. The research of TFS 2013 started from the mid of June to September with almost 4000 respondents. One of the key pieces of data from the survey is shown on Chart 1 below: It shows that 69% of interviewees choose salary increases as the main factor influencing their career move (the highest). I suppose it is no surprise given that “occupation” is the way to earn a living in a society. If people earn more, they have a better living status and vice versa. In this regard, it is not difficult to understand why the salary is given so much attention in job changing.

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Chart 1 What are the main factors affect you to change jobs

An interesting point in this report is about the job changing situation with regards to women. Decades ago, Chinese women were either not allowed to work or not appreciated. The fast development in society allows Chinese women to enter the work environment. It can be seen in Chart 2 and Chart 3 the top 3 factors affecting job changing decisions are exactly the same in male and female. Furthermore, the data is basically at the same level. From taking the role of housewives to getting prepared to be female elites, Chinese women seem adjust themselves very well in career development.

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Chart 2 Job changing factors in male

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Chart 3 Job changing factors in female

During the past few years of my stay in this culturally diverse country, I have heard quite a lot of interesting stories China and Chinese culture. A very important example of this can be seen in chart 4 - “Promotion”, which is closely related to the deeply rooted Chinese cultural importance placed on promotion and advancement. According to the famous Chinese ancient encyclopaedia Lu Shi Chun Qiu, every single employee wants to get promoted in the hierarchical system. It is regarded as a fundamental need for people’s self-actualisation. Back to the modern society, getting promotion is regarded as the recognition of employees’ hard-working and achievements.

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Chart 4 Influence of promotion in job changing by age groups


Though promotion ranks the as the most common second reason for people to look for new job opportunities, the need to be promoted varies in different age groups. Taking a look at the line graph (Chart 4) about promotion in different age groups, the influence of promotion is increasing from age of 18 to 35. People who are 30 to 35 years old are at the ‘golden stage’ of career. Once they are at the position that they tend to be satisfied. The need and want of changing jobs to simply get a promotion becomes less strong. Comparatively, people in the younger age group might move on with their career because of a good promotional space in the new company.

Having participated in many job interviews, I have had quite a few interviewees telling me that they left their current company simply because of the terrible working atmosphere, poor colleague relationships and punishment system which all belong to the company’s culture. Money is an important element when people are considering changing jobs, but I suppose nowadays people are starting to care about more than that. Creating a unique corporate culture is extremely important for a competitive enterprise. As an essential part of corporate culture, the branding of the employer not only enhances the sale-value, it also enables them to attract talent for the enterprise.

The last observation from Chart 1 is the importance placed upon the opinions of families. In Chinese culture family is a very influential factor when people consider something very important to their life. Headhunters sometimes need to deal with cases of relocation. At this time, opinions from family members can sway the decision-making process. Relocation might involve the moving of the whole family, which indeed needs agreement from every family member.

The young generation change jobs for different reasons. Simply labelling the young as unstable is just not right and misses the point. People’s decisions about job changing are made based on the factors listed in the chart. Changing job for more money and promotions are no longer the only things that people care about. The influence of company culture, leadership style, and job contentment are all stronger factors in modern society. 
 

By Robert Parkinson, CEO and Founder of RMG Selection
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