William Dodson, the CEO for Silk Road Advisers and the writer of the "This is China! Weblog", recently posted this article saying that employers must be mindful of how and where they hire their employees from.
Western employers that want to hire local Chinese should be mindful of just how “local” the Chinese are. That an employee is from China is not quite local enough. That an employee speaks Chinese will not be enough, either. Companies lose Chinese employees everyday to the simple reason that the staff want to return to their hometown. For a Chinese, “local” is wherever your parents live (and quite possibly the gaggle of aunties and uncles that come in the package).
The Chinese saying, “Gu Tu Nan Li” (literally, “Old Land Difficult to Leave”) sums up the sentiment we in the West would translate as, “There’s No Place Like Home,” taken from the film The Wizard of Oz. Dorothy, the innocent-abroad in the film, really thinks Oz is a cool place, but misses the drabness and everyday-ness of black-and-white Topeka, Kansas (I lived there a couple years as a kid; I can attest to the black-and-whiteness of it all). Most Chinese people that move to other parts of China for university and/or for work (since the residence permit policy was relaxed a couple years ago), find that after several years as a WaiDi Ren (literally, “Outside Person”) in the city they have adopted, they are ready to go back to wherever their parents are.
Locality of staff is important for a couple of other reasons: truly local Chinese managers will command greater respect and closer ties with local staff; and business ties locally will be tighter and more effective through employing city natives.
Turnover rates in the more developed eastern seaboard of China are high for foreign companies competing for talent. Try hiring locally whenever possible to bring greater stability and focus to your business.
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