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THE CHINA COLUMN: The rise and rise of recruiters

The central theme of recruiting in China in recent years has always been dealing with the talent shortage. While there are high quality professionals in the market, the challenge is that almost all banks are recruiting from the same talent pool.

The majority of multinational firms still use recruitment agencies as their main hiring tool in China, and the agencies themselves are expanding their businesses across the country.

Although banks usually have their own channels to find the right people, it can be difficult for them to directly source qualified candidates – especially for specialist and senior management roles – due to the persistent talent shortage.

Expatriates, returnees and locals are the three main candidate groups in China. Of these, expatriates and returnees are the key users of recruitment agencies.

A professional recruiter is trained to internalise the specific needs of clients and is able to accurately identify a best-fit candidate in the shortest possible time.

He or she will also help candidates with their biggest concerns: salary, benefits and long-term career development.

But there are also downsides to a reliance on recruiters. There is a large number of job hoppers in China these days who take advantage of recruitment agencies’ resources and abuse them purely for short-term gain.

While job hopping may provide some initial benefits to these employees – such as a good salary increment – employers are reluctant to reward such behaviour in the longer term. Changing roles too much will ultimately set barriers to career progression.

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