How Will China's Slow Economy Impact Its Tech Workforce?

In China’s technology sector, salary increases and voluntary turnover are high while hiring remains strong. What must tech companies do about this 'new normal' in China?

How Will China's Slow Economy Impact Its Tech Workforce?

26 Feb 2016 by  Marie Brinkman

China's economy has been slowing down in recent years, with gross domestic product (GDP) growth expected to remain below 7% this year. While that’s a big drop from the double-digit growth recorded from 2003 to 2007, and in 2010, it’s still an enviable number for most countries. It also represents a deliberate ‘new normal’ in China as the country rebalances its economy towards a more sustainable model of domestic consumption and away from a reliance on exports and foreign investment.

How is your company matching up to tech hiring trends?

Some industries, such as manufacturing and real estate, are impacted more negatively by China’s slowing economy than others. The technology sector, however, is in a strong growth mode and more competitive than ever. The Radford Global Technology Survey Workforce Trends Report: Q3 2015 edition shows that 60% of technology companies anticipate normal hiring in China over the next 12 months, while another 11% plan for aggressive hiring. Furthermore, 23% of companies surveyed expect to expand their workforce by up to 15% with another 5% planning for more than 15% expansion.

Does your talent pool have the right skills?

In an effort to establish or expand their presence in China, multinational companies are competing with one another as well as domestic companies for the best talent. This creates high demand for employees with specific skills, such as software engineers and experienced managers that can work effectively in large, complex, global organisations as well as thrive in entrepreneurial start-up environments.

Is your company making wise salary investments?

Along with aggressive hiring patterns, we typically see higher employee turnover. Voluntary turnover rates remain particularly concerning for companies in China: 11% in the median and 17% at the upper end (75th percentile) for a 12-month trailing period. As companies look to retain their high-performing employees, it’s not surprising to see overall salary increase budgets in the 8% to 9% range as they have been over the last 5 years, with a median of 8.3% forecast for 2016.


Are you reaching out to the best talent?

Disposable income for ordinary Chinese citizens is still increasing—representing an important consumer base for many technology firms, and in particular, Internet/e-commerce companies catering to a more mobile, social, and consumer-oriented society. By virtue of its large population and emphasis on higher education, China produces more college graduates each year than most countries around the world, making it the global resource centre for job candidates with hot skill sets.

To attract and retain the best talent, companies must manage their salary budgets by recognising and rewarding the most productive employees and do so within the context of a balanced and attractive total rewards package. They also need to ensure that promising younger employees are developing in their career as the business grows.

Start a conversation with us

Radford delivers compensation data and advice to technology and life sciences companies. It's part of Aon Hewitt, a business unit of Aon plc (NYSE: AON).

If you need advice on attracting and retaining the best technical talent in China, get in touch with us today.

Marie Brinkman

Marie Brinkman is Radford’s Associate Partner and Global Relationship Manager for key technology industry clients, and responsible for supporting their survey data and market intelligence needs. She also provides training and guidance for global compensation and total rewards consulting engagements and the application of full census data for organisational staffing and labour cost analyses. Marie frequently presents on global compensation trends and issues at client conferences in the USA and Asia. She has a Bachelor of Art degree in psychology and a Master in Business Administration in finance from the University of California at Berkeley.

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