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Oxford Economics Study Reveals Looming Talent Crisis in China: Six Gaps to Close by 2020

September 22, 2014 by Susan Galer 0

As economies slowly rebound around the world, the latest research findings from Oxford Economics point to significant gaps between what it takes to engage top talent and what companies actually offer.

The worldwide survey, which was supported by SAP and entitled, “Workforce 2020,” is based on feedback from Chinese executives and employees encompassing C-level, mid-level, and line-of-business managers, as well as front-line employees from a variety of industries. According to these findings, Chinese businesses may not be making human resources (HR) a priority as they struggle to manage talent, cultivate leadership, encourage learning and understand employees. Here are the six major disconnects that represent opportunities for employers and employees.

  1. Companies are unprepared to meet the challenges of the new face of work. While 60 percent of Chinese employees receive ample training on workplace technologies, only 31 percent have access to the latest innovations. In addition, 92 percent of Chinese executives say they are increasingly using contingent, intermittent, seasonal, or consultant employees. Yet only 26 percent believe that this workplace demographic shift requires changing HR policies.
  2. Millennials are different, but not as different as companies think. Thirty-seven percent of executives think millennials are frustrated with the quality of their managers, but just 2 percent of millennials say they are. Yet millennials entering the workforce were cited as one of the top labor market shifts affecting workforce strategy.
  3. Companies don’t understand what employees really want. The most important benefits and incentives to Chinese employees are competitive compensation (60 percent), and bonuses and merit-based rewards (56 percent). However, only 21 percent of companies offer competitive compensation.
  4. Employees and executives agree that leadership is lacking. Just 33 percent of Chinese executives say their company has plans for succession and continuity in key roles. Only 34 percent tend to replace a senior person from within the organization.
  5. Companies are not in sync with the changing workforce make-up. Although the workplace of 2020 will be the most diverse the world has ever seen, only 26 percent of executives say their company has the leadership in place to manage a diverse workforce. What’s more, just 31 percent of employees say their company is committed to diversity.
  6. Sixty-four percent of employees are most concerned about their position changing or becoming obsolete. While 82 percent of Chinese executives say their company widely offers supplemental training programs, only 27 percent of employees say their company provides the right tools to help them grow and improve job performance. For example, demand continues to increase for workers skilled in advanced technologies such as analytics. But just 16 percent of employees say they are proficient in analytics now, and only 33 percent expect to gain that knowledge in the next three years.

The ramifications for companies in China are clear. Top-performing companies will be those that provide employees with access to the advanced technologies required to get the job done. They will give workers of every generation what they want most—competitive compensation and bonuses, along with targeted training and opportunities for career development. In fact, these companies will be easy to spot, surging ahead of the pack as they launch programs now to develop the next generation of leaders, adjusting HR policies to meet the challenges of the workforce of the future.

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