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Human Resources Challenges in China: How Can SMEs Cope with Shortage of Talents, High Turnover Rates and Rising Labour Costs? / 在中国的人力资源挑战:中小企业如何处理人才匮乏,高税收和劳动力成本增加的问题


Author: Claudia Vernotti
2013-03-12

Human Resources Challenges in China: How Can SMEs Cope with Shortage of Talents, High Turnover Rates and Rising Labour Costs?

With a total population of over 1.3 billion people and a working-age population of 72%, China offers an immense supply of human capital. For a long time, the abundance of low-cost labor has given China competitive edge over other emerging economies in attracting foreign direct investment (FDI) and boosting the economy’s manufacturing sector. Nevertheless, according to a study conducted by the German Chamber of Commerce in China, human resources (HR) related issues are ranked on the top list of the major concerns by foreign invested enterprises (FIEs), ahead of negative repercussions on business generated by potential currency and financial crises. What exactly are the difficulties presented by China’s human capital market and how should small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) cope with these challenges?

Despite the large supply of human capital, FIEs denounce a shortage of high-skilled labor. According to McKinskey, a global management consulting firm, only around 10% of Chinese candidates for jobs in key areas including finance, accounting and engineering are qualified to work for a foreign company. In a more recent study, McKinskey Global Institute (MGI), suggests that by 2020 the Chinese economy will need 23 million more college-educated workers than it can supply, a gap equivalent to 16% of estimated labor demand. Medium and low-skilled workers, respectively with a high school and a primary school education, are instead at surplus. This trend is the result of a series of factors, including the aging of the population, the rapid growth of the service sector, and a move to a more skill-intensive manufacturing. The nation’s labor pool is expected to shrink even more in the future, with the United Nations forecasting a drop of about 24 million in the population aged 15 to 59 from 2015 to 2025. In the same time period, people aged 65 and over are expected to increase by about 66 million.

Because of the lack of qualified workers, companies need to compete among each other in attracting and recruiting the most suitable work force. In this perspective, it is crucial for HR managers to understand what Chinese employees are seeking from their employers. Network HR magazine and the British human capital consultancy Antal International conducted a survey on “China’s mot desirable employers”, covering a three month period and involving over 3,600 Chinese professionals mainly working for multinationals in major Chinese cities. The results showed that the main factors employees value in a company are, in order of importance: salary and benefits (59.8%), company size (51.1%), company reputation (49.1%), management style (43.2%), good work-life balance (39.6%), promotion opportunities (31.9%), training system (30.4%), and easily accessible locations (10.9%). The three most recurring reasons to leave a work place have been identified as low pay, poor benefits, and no room for career advancement. According to the same survey, foreign firms are losing their appeal, as Chinese professionals tend to be increasingly attracted by state-owned enterprises (SOEs) and public institutions for the generally better work-life balance, the promise of a better job stability, and an often less stressful work environment. In order to become more competitive in this precarious skill labor market, FIEs need to adapt their HR strategy in order to meet Chinese employees’ expectations. This is especially true for SMEs, which are at disadvantage compared to big foreign and domestic firms, lacking the looked-for brand recognition, deemed very highly in the eyes of Chinese employees, who often associate the brand of the working place with social status.

At the eighth edition of the HR Conference organized by the European Union Chamber of Commerce in China in November 2012, issues related to recruitment and retaining of talents have been the main topics of the panel discussions, where Chinese and European CEOs and HRDs united to find solutions to the most relevant HR-related issues facing companies operating in China. What has been suggested as a way to successfully attract and retain talents has been to highlight promotional opportunities and offer training programs both within the company and overseas. Bonuses, longer-term benefits, such as free housing and meals, more holidays, a mobile phone, longer maternity leaves could be added to the salary creating a more attractive package. Another solution pointed out is to allow for greater mobility among different locations, but also internally among different jobs, enabling workers to acquire a larger number of skills through cross functionality. A number of large foreign companies now offer incentives such as gym memberships, more flexible hours, and the guarantee of being paid for the extra hours. In competing with these large organizations which have an easier job in attracting talents given their established presence in the press and the availability of considerable capital to invest in HR, SMEs should strive to establish a reputation as a good place to work by improving their brand image. This could be achieved through marketing campaigns through media or through targeted recruitment campaigns at selected universities. All the above mentioned strategies should help companies to recruit the most suitable workforce but also to retain it for a longer term. The results of a survey by a Chinese human resources service provider indicate that in year 2010 the average employee turnover rate for privately-owned companies was 18.5%. If firms want to reduce the risks of losing their best workers and having to recruit and train new hires from scratch, they should strive to meet their expectations.

Rising labor costs is another major concern that many companies, especially those in the low-end manufacturing sector, which might consider relocating production to nearby countries, where labor is relatively cheaper. As a way to reduce the enlarging gap between the rich and the poor, the Chinese government has risen the minimum wages in the main coastal provinces, which are also the largest manufacturing centers. According to a study by the Boston Consulting Group (BCG), in 2000, China’s average wage rate was 36% of that in the U.S., adjusted for productivity. By the end of 2010, that gap had shrunk to 48%, and BCG estimates that it will be 69% in 2015. Annually increasing by 12%, the current average manufacturing wage is 2.25 Euro/hour, something comparable to that of certain Eastern European countries. As a result of this pattern, coupled of course with the global economic downturn negatively affecting Europe and America’s ability to invest in the country, total FDI flowing to China fell 3.7% in 2012 to US $111.72 billion, counting for the first annual decline since 2009 (according to the  Ministry of Commerce). Other sectors of the economy, in particular the services sector, seem to still hold a competitive edge in China over other countries in terms of relative labor costs.

To complicate matters, under China’s employment law, which is heavily based on the North European legal framework, it is very difficult to terminate an existing contract. An employee can be terminated with thirty days notice only is she/he cannot work because of injury, incompetence, a major change in circumstances, or by mutual agreements. It is thus very important for FIEs to select the right candidates to fill the opened positions, as laying off employees can be extremely troublesome. Seeking for references by previous employees and undertaking background checks should give an employer a certain degree of guarantee of the good performance of the candidate, as it has been pointed out at the eighth HR Conference. Employers should be very critical in judging candidates based on their resumes, since there often exists large discrepancy between what the resumes say and where the real competencies of the person actually stand.

In conclusion, having recognized the challenges of China’s human capital market and having identified Chinese employees’ values and expectations, companies wishing to attract the best talents need to be ready to adapt their HR strategies and change their priorities. As Angelo Puglisi, Head of HR Asia Pacific at Benteler Automotive, expressed at his presentation at the HR Conference, it is all about “learning to cope with time”. Trainings and internal development are keys in improving efficiency. Greater attention should be put on controlling costs, and the focus should switch from talent acquisition to talent development. Personnel’s performance should be checked regularly through the adoption of clear HR key performance indicators (KPIs), focusing on returns-on-investment (ROI) and staffing ratios. This being said, we must recognize that, despite rising labor costs, an aging population, a shrinking recruitment pool, and an ever increasing competition in recruiting the few high skill workers, China still ranks in the top positions in terms of business attractiveness (relatively low corporate taxes, advanced supplier network, presence of innovation hubs) and, at least for the next five years ahead, it will remain a top destination for manufacturers.

Writer: Claudia Vernotti, Hopkins Nanjing Center MA ’14

作者:Claudia Vernotti
2013-03-12

在中国的人力资源挑战:中小企业如何处理人才匮乏,高税收和劳动力成本增加的问题

 

中国有13亿的人口和72%的工作年龄人口,它提供了巨大的人力资源市场。长时间以来,丰富的廉价劳动力使得中国在吸引外商直接投资和繁荣制造业方面具有比较优势。然而,根据德国对外商务部中国处的一项调查,人力资源相关问题已经超过由于潜在通货或者金融危机引起的商业不良反应问题,成为外商投资企业最关心的。那么,中国人力资源市场带来了哪些难题,而中小企业该如何应对这些挑战呢?

尽管大量的人力资源供应,外商投资企业不得不谴责高技能劳动力的匮乏。根据全球战略咨询公司麦肯锡的调查,只有10%的重要行业如金融、会计和工程师的应聘者胜任外企的工作。在更近的一项调查中,麦肯锡全球研究院预测到2020年中国经济将缺乏2300万大专以上学历的劳动力,这个数字站了预期劳动需求的16%。中低技能的劳动力(指中学和小学学历的)将相应过剩。这种趋势是一系列因素的结果,包括人口老龄化、服务业的快速增长和向更高科技制造业的转型。随着美国预测从2015年到2025年,全国15岁到59岁的人口将下降2400万,美国的劳动力储备将在未来减少的更多。同时,65岁以上人口将增加6600万。

因为缺乏合格的劳动力,公司之间相互竞争去吸引和雇用最合适的劳动力。在这方面,对于HR如何理解应聘者需求就要求很高。Network HR杂志和英国的人力资本咨询公司Antal国际做过一项“中国最受欢迎雇主”的调查。该调查历时3个月,对象主要是3600名在大城市工作的专业人员。调查结果显示,员工主要考虑的就业因素,按重要性排名,依次是:工资福利(59.8%),公司规模(51.1%),公司名气(49.1%),管理风格(43.2%),良好的家庭-工作平衡(39.6%),晋升机会(31.9%),培训(30.4%),以及交通便利(10.9%)。而让员工决定离职的三大原因则为工资低,福利差,没有发展前途。另外,这份调查还发现外企正在逐渐失去对中国求职者的吸引力。现在的求职者更倾向于国企或政府部门,因为那里能让员工更好地平衡工作和生活,而且相对稳定,工作环境也没那么有压力。为了在当前竞争激烈的劳力市场提升竞争力,外企必须调整它们的人力资源策略以满足中国求职者的期望。中小型企业更应该重视其人力管理方面的调整,因为它们跟大型的外企或国内企业相比,缺少品牌效应。而中国员工通常把公司的品牌、名气将自己的社会地位联系在一起,因此很重视这些。

2012年11月欧盟商会在中国举办了“第八届人力资源会议”。此次会议将重点放在对人才的招聘和保持上。来自中国和欧洲的首席执行官和人力资源总监们共同商议如何解决中国的运营公司出现的人力资源问题。有提议认为强调晋升机会,为雇员提供公司内部以及海外的培训机会或许不失为能成功吸引、保持人才的办法。另外,还可以在工资之外增加福利内容,形成更具吸引力的薪酬计划,比如红利,长期福利,包括提供免费食宿,更多假期,手机,更长的产假等。还有一种办法是不但允许员工在不同工作地点之间的流动,而且允许员工在公司内部不同岗位间轮换。这种流动性能让员工在不同职责中学到更多东西。一些大型外企现在为员工提供诸如健身会员卡,灵活工作时间以及加班补贴等奖励。这些大公司在吸引人才方面并没有多困难,因为它们经常在媒体上出现,并有足够的能力和资金投入人力资源。相对于这些大公司,中小型企业需要通过不断提升公司声誉来吸引人才。具体来说,中小型企业可以通过媒体或在目标学校进行宣传来达到目的。以上提到的方法都可以帮助公司招募合适的人才并保持人才。一家中国人力资源外包商提供的调查显示,2010年人事平均变动率为18.5%。这个数字告诉我们,如果公司不想失去优秀的员工,然后不得不急急忙忙招聘训练新人,它们就得努力满足员工的要求。

由于不断上涨的用工成本,许多公司,尤其是那些处在低端的制造商不得不考虑把公司设在其他临近国家,以降低人力成本。为了缩小日益扩大的贫富差距,中国政府提高了主要临海省份的最低工资标准,而这些省份恰恰是最大的加工制造中心。根据波士顿咨询公司的一份研究,2000年中国平均工资率(对生产力)是美国的36%,而到了2010年底,这个数字变成了48%,差距在缩小。波士顿咨询估计到2015年差距会进一步缩小到69%。中国加工制造业的平均工资每年涨幅为12%,现在是每小时2.25欧元,相当于某些东欧国家的工资水平。高额的用工成本加上全球经济衰退直接减少了欧美在中国的投资。根据商务部的统计,2012年中国的外商直接投资降低了3.7个百分点,为1117.2亿美元。这是自2009年来外商直接投资首次出现降幅。中国的其他经济部门,尤其是服务业,似乎仍然很有竞争力,因为劳工成本相对其他国家还是比较低。

而中国的劳工法让情况变得更复杂。中国的劳工法是在北欧的法律框架上建立的,根据该法,要解除一份已有的劳动合同十分麻烦。员工只有在以下情况导致无法继续工作时才能被解雇:受伤、无法胜任、客观情况发生变化或双方协定。解雇员工必须提前30天通知。考虑到复杂的解聘流程,外企必须提前找好接替人员,这是十分重要的。第八届人力资源会议指出,通过以前的同事了解情况并进行背景调查可以在一定程度上保证合格人才的招聘。对于候选人的简历,雇主要格外挑剔,因为简历上说的不一定是真的。

总之,以上回顾了中国人力市场的挑战并指出了中国雇员的价值和期待,公司如希望吸引最佳人才,就需要调整他们的人力资源策略并改变过去的工作重点。Benteler的本特勒汽车工业公司亚太地区人力资源总监Angelo Puglisi在人力资源会议的讲话中表示,人力资源工作的关键在于“学会适应时代变化。”提高效率的关键在于培训和内部发展。控制成本需要更多精力,公司的关注重心也应从人才引进转变为人才培养、人才发展。要进行日常的人事考核,考核标准应该是清晰的人力资源关键绩效指标,并关注投资回报和人员配备比。从这些方面看,我们必须认识到,尽管中国劳工成本上升,人口老龄化导致劳动力减缩,并且招聘优秀人才压力越来越大,但从商业吸引力来说(相对较低的公司税收,先进的供应商网络,创新中心的建立),中国仍然是理想的投资地。至少未来五年,中国任然是制造商首选的投资地。

作者:韦茉莉,中美中心国际关系硕士2014年

译者:王越,中美中心国际关系硕士2013年

Author: Claudia Vernotti
2013-03-12

Human Resources Challenges in China: How Can SMEs Cope with Shortage of Talents, High Turnover Rates and Rising Labour Costs?

With a total population of over 1.3 billion people and a working-age population of 72%, China offers an immense supply of human capital. For a long time, the abundance of low-cost labor has given China competitive edge over other emerging economies in attracting foreign direct investment (FDI) and boosting the economy’s manufacturing sector. Nevertheless, according to a study conducted by the German Chamber of Commerce in China, human resources (HR) related issues are ranked on the top list of the major concerns by foreign invested enterprises (FIEs), ahead of negative repercussions on business generated by potential currency and financial crises. What exactly are the difficulties presented by China’s human capital market and how should small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) cope with these challenges?

Despite the large supply of human capital, FIEs denounce a shortage of high-skilled labor. According to McKinskey, a global management consulting firm, only around 10% of Chinese candidates for jobs in key areas including finance, accounting and engineering are qualified to work for a foreign company. In a more recent study, McKinskey Global Institute (MGI), suggests that by 2020 the Chinese economy will need 23 million more college-educated workers than it can supply, a gap equivalent to 16% of estimated labor demand. Medium and low-skilled workers, respectively with a high school and a primary school education, are instead at surplus. This trend is the result of a series of factors, including the aging of the population, the rapid growth of the service sector, and a move to a more skill-intensive manufacturing. The nation’s labor pool is expected to shrink even more in the future, with the United Nations forecasting a drop of about 24 million in the population aged 15 to 59 from 2015 to 2025. In the same time period, people aged 65 and over are expected to increase by about 66 million.

Because of the lack of qualified workers, companies need to compete among each other in attracting and recruiting the most suitable work force. In this perspective, it is crucial for HR managers to understand what Chinese employees are seeking from their employers. Network HR magazine and the British human capital consultancy Antal International conducted a survey on “China’s mot desirable employers”, covering a three month period and involving over 3,600 Chinese professionals mainly working for multinationals in major Chinese cities. The results showed that the main factors employees value in a company are, in order of importance: salary and benefits (59.8%), company size (51.1%), company reputation (49.1%), management style (43.2%), good work-life balance (39.6%), promotion opportunities (31.9%), training system (30.4%), and easily accessible locations (10.9%). The three most recurring reasons to leave a work place have been identified as low pay, poor benefits, and no room for career advancement. According to the same survey, foreign firms are losing their appeal, as Chinese professionals tend to be increasingly attracted by state-owned enterprises (SOEs) and public institutions for the generally better work-life balance, the promise of a better job stability, and an often less stressful work environment. In order to become more competitive in this precarious skill labor market, FIEs need to adapt their HR strategy in order to meet Chinese employees’ expectations. This is especially true for SMEs, which are at disadvantage compared to big foreign and domestic firms, lacking the looked-for brand recognition, deemed very highly in the eyes of Chinese employees, who often associate the brand of the working place with social status.

At the eighth edition of the HR Conference organized by the European Union Chamber of Commerce in China in November 2012, issues related to recruitment and retaining of talents have been the main topics of the panel discussions, where Chinese and European CEOs and HRDs united to find solutions to the most relevant HR-related issues facing companies operating in China. What has been suggested as a way to successfully attract and retain talents has been to highlight promotional opportunities and offer training programs both within the company and overseas. Bonuses, longer-term benefits, such as free housing and meals, more holidays, a mobile phone, longer maternity leaves could be added to the salary creating a more attractive package. Another solution pointed out is to allow for greater mobility among different locations, but also internally among different jobs, enabling workers to acquire a larger number of skills through cross functionality. A number of large foreign companies now offer incentives such as gym memberships, more flexible hours, and the guarantee of being paid for the extra hours. In competing with these large organizations which have an easier job in attracting talents given their established presence in the press and the availability of considerable capital to invest in HR, SMEs should strive to establish a reputation as a good place to work by improving their brand image. This could be achieved through marketing campaigns through media or through targeted recruitment campaigns at selected universities. All the above mentioned strategies should help companies to recruit the most suitable workforce but also to retain it for a longer term. The results of a survey by a Chinese human resources service provider indicate that in year 2010 the average employee turnover rate for privately-owned companies was 18.5%. If firms want to reduce the risks of losing their best workers and having to recruit and train new hires from scratch, they should strive to meet their expectations.

Rising labor costs is another major concern that many companies, especially those in the low-end manufacturing sector, which might consider relocating production to nearby countries, where labor is relatively cheaper. As a way to reduce the enlarging gap between the rich and the poor, the Chinese government has risen the minimum wages in the main coastal provinces, which are also the largest manufacturing centers. According to a study by the Boston Consulting Group (BCG), in 2000, China’s average wage rate was 36% of that in the U.S., adjusted for productivity. By the end of 2010, that gap had shrunk to 48%, and BCG estimates that it will be 69% in 2015. Annually increasing by 12%, the current average manufacturing wage is 2.25 Euro/hour, something comparable to that of certain Eastern European countries. As a result of this pattern, coupled of course with the global economic downturn negatively affecting Europe and America’s ability to invest in the country, total FDI flowing to China fell 3.7% in 2012 to US $111.72 billion, counting for the first annual decline since 2009 (according to the  Ministry of Commerce). Other sectors of the economy, in particular the services sector, seem to still hold a competitive edge in China over other countries in terms of relative labor costs.

To complicate matters, under China’s employment law, which is heavily based on the North European legal framework, it is very difficult to terminate an existing contract. An employee can be terminated with thirty days notice only is she/he cannot work because of injury, incompetence, a major change in circumstances, or by mutual agreements. It is thus very important for FIEs to select the right candidates to fill the opened positions, as laying off employees can be extremely troublesome. Seeking for references by previous employees and undertaking background checks should give an employer a certain degree of guarantee of the good performance of the candidate, as it has been pointed out at the eighth HR Conference. Employers should be very critical in judging candidates based on their resumes, since there often exists large discrepancy between what the resumes say and where the real competencies of the person actually stand.

In conclusion, having recognized the challenges of China’s human capital market and having identified Chinese employees’ values and expectations, companies wishing to attract the best talents need to be ready to adapt their HR strategies and change their priorities. As Angelo Puglisi, Head of HR Asia Pacific at Benteler Automotive, expressed at his presentation at the HR Conference, it is all about “learning to cope with time”. Trainings and internal development are keys in improving efficiency. Greater attention should be put on controlling costs, and the focus should switch from talent acquisition to talent development. Personnel’s performance should be checked regularly through the adoption of clear HR key performance indicators (KPIs), focusing on returns-on-investment (ROI) and staffing ratios. This being said, we must recognize that, despite rising labor costs, an aging population, a shrinking recruitment pool, and an ever increasing competition in recruiting the few high skill workers, China still ranks in the top positions in terms of business attractiveness (relatively low corporate taxes, advanced supplier network, presence of innovation hubs) and, at least for the next five years ahead, it will remain a top destination for manufacturers.

Writer: Claudia Vernotti, Hopkins Nanjing Center MA ’14

作者:Claudia Vernotti
2013-03-12

在中国的人力资源挑战:中小企业如何处理人才匮乏,高税收和劳动力成本增加的问题

中国有13亿的人口和72%的工作年龄人口,它提供了巨大的人力资源市场。长时间以来,丰富的廉价劳动力使得中国在吸引外商直接投资和繁荣制造业方面具有比较优势。然而,根据德国对外商务部中国处的一项调查,人力资源相关问题已经超过由于潜在通货或者金融危机引起的商业不良反应问题,成为外商投资企业最关心的。那么,中国人力资源市场带来了哪些难题,而中小企业该如何应对这些挑战呢?

尽管大量的人力资源供应,外商投资企业不得不谴责高技能劳动力的匮乏。根据全球战略咨询公司麦肯锡的调查,只有10%的重要行业如金融、会计和工程师的应聘者胜任外企的工作。在更近的一项调查中,麦肯锡全球研究院预测到2020年中国经济将缺乏2300万大专以上学历的劳动力,这个数字站了预期劳动需求的16%。中低技能的劳动力(指中学和小学学历的)将相应过剩。这种趋势是一系列因素的结果,包括人口老龄化、服务业的快速增长和向更高科技制造业的转型。随着美国预测从2015年到2025年,全国15岁到59岁的人口将下降2400万,美国的劳动力储备将在未来减少的更多。同时,65岁以上人口将增加6600万。

因为缺乏合格的劳动力,公司之间相互竞争去吸引和雇用最合适的劳动力。在这方面,对于HR如何理解应聘者需求就要求很高。Network HR杂志和英国的人力资本咨询公司Antal国际做过一项“中国最受欢迎雇主”的调查。该调查历时3个月,对象主要是3600名在大城市工作的专业人员。调查结果显示,员工主要考虑的就业因素,按重要性排名,依次是:工资福利(59.8%),公司规模(51.1%),公司名气(49.1%),管理风格(43.2%),良好的家庭-工作平衡(39.6%),晋升机会(31.9%),培训(30.4%),以及交通便利(10.9%)。而让员工决定离职的三大原因则为工资低,福利差,没有发展前途。另外,这份调查还发现外企正在逐渐失去对中国求职者的吸引力。现在的求职者更倾向于国企或政府部门,因为那里能让员工更好地平衡工作和生活,而且相对稳定,工作环境也没那么有压力。为了在当前竞争激烈的劳力市场提升竞争力,外企必须调整它们的人力资源策略以满足中国求职者的期望。中小型企业更应该重视其人力管理方面的调整,因为它们跟大型的外企或国内企业相比,缺少品牌效应。而中国员工通常把公司的品牌、名气将自己的社会地位联系在一起,因此很重视这些。

2012年11月欧盟商会在中国举办了“第八届人力资源会议”。此次会议将重点放在对人才的招聘和保持上。来自中国和欧洲的首席执行官和人力资源总监们共同商议如何解决中国的运营公司出现的人力资源问题。有提议认为强调晋升机会,为雇员提供公司内部以及海外的培训机会或许不失为能成功吸引、保持人才的办法。另外,还可以在工资之外增加福利内容,形成更具吸引力的薪酬计划,比如红利,长期福利,包括提供免费食宿,更多假期,手机,更长的产假等。还有一种办法是不但允许员工在不同工作地点之间的流动,而且允许员工在公司内部不同岗位间轮换。这种流动性能让员工在不同职责中学到更多东西。一些大型外企现在为员工提供诸如健身会员卡,灵活工作时间以及加班补贴等奖励。这些大公司在吸引人才方面并没有多困难,因为它们经常在媒体上出现,并有足够的能力和资金投入人力资源。相对于这些大公司,中小型企业需要通过不断提升公司声誉来吸引人才。具体来说,中小型企业可以通过媒体或在目标学校进行宣传来达到目的。以上提到的方法都可以帮助公司招募合适的人才并保持人才。一家中国人力资源外包商提供的调查显示,2010年人事平均变动率为18.5%。这个数字告诉我们,如果公司不想失去优秀的员工,然后不得不急急忙忙招聘训练新人,它们就得努力满足员工的要求。

由于不断上涨的用工成本,许多公司,尤其是那些处在低端的制造商不得不考虑把公司设在其他临近国家,以降低人力成本。为了缩小日益扩大的贫富差距,中国政府提高了主要临海省份的最低工资标准,而这些省份恰恰是最大的加工制造中心。根据波士顿咨询公司的一份研究,2000年中国平均工资率(对生产力)是美国的36%,而到了2010年底,这个数字变成了48%,差距在缩小。波士顿咨询估计到2015年差距会进一步缩小到69%。中国加工制造业的平均工资每年涨幅为12%,现在是每小时2.25欧元,相当于某些东欧国家的工资水平。高额的用工成本加上全球经济衰退直接减少了欧美在中国的投资。根据商务部的统计,2012年中国的外商直接投资降低了3.7个百分点,为1117.2亿美元。这是自2009年来外商直接投资首次出现降幅。中国的其他经济部门,尤其是服务业,似乎仍然很有竞争力,因为劳工成本相对其他国家还是比较低。

而中国的劳工法让情况变得更复杂。中国的劳工法是在北欧的法律框架上建立的,根据该法,要解除一份已有的劳动合同十分麻烦。员工只有在以下情况导致无法继续工作时才能被解雇:受伤、无法胜任、客观情况发生变化或双方协定。解雇员工必须提前30天通知。考虑到复杂的解聘流程,外企必须提前找好接替人员,这是十分重要的。第八届人力资源会议指出,通过以前的同事了解情况并进行背景调查可以在一定程度上保证合格人才的招聘。对于候选人的简历,雇主要格外挑剔,因为简历上说的不一定是真的。

总之,以上回顾了中国人力市场的挑战并指出了中国雇员的价值和期待,公司如希望吸引最佳人才,就需要调整他们的人力资源策略并改变过去的工作重点。Benteler的本特勒汽车工业公司亚太地区人力资源总监Angelo Puglisi在人力资源会议的讲话中表示,人力资源工作的关键在于“学会适应时代变化。”提高效率的关键在于培训和内部发展。控制成本需要更多精力,公司的关注重心也应从人才引进转变为人才培养、人才发展。要进行日常的人事考核,考核标准应该是清晰的人力资源关键绩效指标,并关注投资回报和人员配备比。从这些方面看,我们必须认识到,尽管中国劳工成本上升,人口老龄化导致劳动力减缩,并且招聘优秀人才压力越来越大,但从商业吸引力来说(相对较低的公司税收,先进的供应商网络,创新中心的建立),中国仍然是理想的投资地。至少未来五年,中国任然是制造商首选的投资地。

作者:韦茉莉,中美中心国际关系硕士2014年

译者:王越,中美中心国际关系硕士2013年

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