Culture is candidates’ no. 1 concern when joining a Chinese company

By Michael Page | Wednesday, 16 Jan 2019

Close to half (44%) of Chinese multinationals in Hong Kong struggle with employee retention, says Michael Page Hong Kong, a specialist recruitment firm. The leadership teams’ efforts are felt but maybe not enough for Hong Kong candidates to stay.

Despite 2 in 3 Chinese companies stating their willingness to offer salaries 11–20% above market rate in order to hire experienced talent, the feedback from Hong Kong professionals who have worked in a Chinese firm expressed culture fit (72%) as the largest factor for leaving. This is followed by mismatched salary expectations (67%) and being offered a better position or employment terms somewhere else (56%).

Addressing the concerns of Hong Kong professionals, Olga Yung, Regional Director, Michael Page Hong Kong observes, “The biggest challenge for Chinese players to attract talent, is often related to the culture within the company as well as the primary language in use which is putonghua. The majority of Hong Kong candidates are accustomed to very international offices, and therefore most encounter a cultural shock when entering this new work environment.”

“The second challenge for some Chinese players is their lack of global presence as this deters potential employees who are keen on gaining regional or international work exposure from joining the organisation,” Olga Yung continues.

Chinese-headquartered conglomerates and financial services firms have been aggressively growing their footprint, using Hong Kong-based businesses as springboards for international opportunities. 88% of respondents agree that Hong Kong is an attractive destination for business expansion due to the city’s financial stability, mature infrastructure, and wealth of professionals qualified for international markets. Therefore, opportunities for Hong Kong professionals will continue in Chinese multinationals.

There is still optimism around changing mindsets from both Hong Kong professionals and Chinese multinationals. Among those surveyed, 82% felt that the leadership team made efforts to adopt an international working style in order to better align themselves with global standards.

Ellen Lai, Director, Page Personnel Hong Kong agrees, “There is a misconception that Chinese companies in Hong Kong are too conservative. That is not true, Chinese firms acknowledge the need to attract top talent, are very savvy with their employment strategies and innovative with their recruitment approaches.”

Hong Kong professionals have become more receptive over the years, and are found to appreciate opportunities that Chinese companies offer in terms of new projects (20%); salaries (18%) and opening doors to new industries (14%).

Ellen Lai explains, “Chinese companies setting up their businesses in Hong Kong all need to hire industry product specialists, project teams and heads of department to establish themselves. This will require experienced professionals and has created a new employment demand in the Hong Kong market.”

In order to attract top Hong Kong professionals, candidates in this market expressed that their top considerations when moving to a Chinese firm are the alignment of management style and direction (24%), culture fit (17%) as well as working expectations (13%).


Michael Page

Hiring Chinese Culture Retention

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