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HR: Have You Reached Your Hiring Target?
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Have You Reached Your Hiring Target?

By Robert Parkinson, CEO & Founder of RMG Selection

At the end of the first quarter, most HR managers are busy assessing the need for new staff. This period is also when many job applicants learn about their value to the job market. To collect first-hand information on recruitment activities in the Chinese job market, RMG Selection launched its Recruitment Insider Survey (Quarter 1) at the end of March.

Recruitment Insider is a survey specifically designed for HR managers who are in charge of their companies' overall hiring.. By surveying leading companies in China, we aim to help employers and job seekers understand the qualifications needed and the direction of the recruitment landscape. As the survey is about to be published, I would like to share a few interesting findings.

Recruitment needs in the first season remains strong

Out of approximately 600 companies who participated in the Recruitment Insider Survey, 91.8 percent are very active in hiring new employees. It was found that demand for recruits in State – Owned Enterprises (SOEs) is the highest (99.1 percent) of all types of companies. This is mainly affected by government decisions about renovation of SEOs. As seen in Figure 1, 86.6 percent of new headcounts in Europe and American corporations were filled in the first quarter. Joint-venture companies show the lowest hiring activity. The highest numbers of vacancies are to be found in sales, marketing and product design and manufacturing.

BT 201505 17 HR 01Figure 1 - Data from RMG Recruitment Insider Survey 2015Q1

It was also found that the manufacturing industry, IT and legal consultancy are the top three industries looking for new recruits. According to Figure 2, professional legal consulting firms are extremely active in hiring new employees. The rapid development of IT & the Internet (91.8 percent) and machine design and manufacturing (93.5 percent) has also led to high recruitment demand. But with only 78.3 percent new positions opened in the first quarter, the situation has deteriorated in the manufacturing industry.

BT 201505 18 HR 02Figure 2 -€“ Data from RMG Recruitment Insider Survey 2015Q1

Salary increases vary across sectors Salaries are important to both employers and employees. We have found that salary increases are generally low in the first quarter. Only one-third of the offers sent out to new recruits goes beyond a 10 percent salary increase. The best performance is found in multinational corporations. 66 percent of the new positions in these companies are middle to senior level positions. Only Joint- Venture companies are willing to pay large increases to outstanding people. The salary increase performance of SOEs, on the other hand, is rather disappointing. With 90 percent of offers from SOEs, salary increases vary within 10 percent.

Mainstream hiring channels
Another interesting finding is the ranking of recruitment channels. The most popular hiring channel belongs to the executive search firms. The second place surprisingly goes to social media. LinkedIn, WeChat, Weibo, MaiMai, GouDa and other popular platforms have all become important channels for employers and HR specialists to discover talented employees. Recruitment websites and jobs fairs have become less important than five years ago.

BT 201505 19 HR interview 3Aspects valued and not valued by HR and hiring managers
According to the survey, professional knowledge and skills are the most important criteria when filtering candidates. Unsurprisingly, ability to communicate comes in second place. The interesting finding is that educational background is valued in third place by HR managers.In China, the majority of SOEs and private Chinese firms regard a solid education background as an essential qualification. But in 2014, there was a hot debate as to whether university graduates had a significant advantage in the job market.
Company value is often important for western companies. However, out of six hundred managers surveyed, only 15.5 percent thought this to be the most important factor. At the same time, certificates and honours, important criteria for selection in the past, were not at the bottom of the list. Unfortunately, only 10.5 percent of managers care about employees' skills and knowledge demonstrated by paper qualifications. This contrasts with the criteria employed by HR professionals when filtering candidates.

Campus recruitment activities
Although the survey was conducted in the first quarter, campus recruitment had already started to play a part in many companies' hiring plans. More than 50 percent of companies have already planned to open 20 percent of new positions to prepare for the graduates job-seeking peak in June. Only 6 percent of companies haven't prepared for campus hiring yet. In 2014, the number of graduates already exceeded 7 million, which was quite a problem for the government and many companies. We will keep watching campus hiring plans in the second quarter.

As the Chinese saying goes, the whole year's plan depends on a kick-start in spring. Needless to say it is important to hire and plan well in the first quarter. By conducting this survey and analysing its results, we hope to share recruitment insights across different industries and fields for both employers and job seekers.


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