China increasingly attractive to workers

A new report indicates that Chinese workers are less likely to leave, while overseas workers are increasingly drawn in.

China's booming economy is creating jobs in unprecedented numbers – and thus inducing more overseas Chinese residents to return home for employment opportunities

This is according to a new report jointly released by Boston Consulting Group, The Network, Zhaopin, and ChinaHR, which surveyed f 366,000 workers in 197 countries.

The report also says that there is also an increasing reluctance of China's workforce to join the globally mobile work community.

China is currently seeing a rapid expansion in jobs, with numerous digital jobs in e-commerce, online entertainment, finance, and smart manufacturing being created.

Between the widespread digitisation of business operations in multiple industries, and the Chinese government's Project 2035 initiative to become a global innovation leader, it is expected that some 415 million digital-economy jobs will be generated in the country by 2035.

These positive market conditions mean that only one in three Chinese residents is willing to move abroad for work, according to the report. That is down from 61% who were willing to work abroad in 2014, making China one of the countries with the lowest percentage of mobile respondents in the world. Chinese residents are now among the most reluctant workers anywhere to leave home.

The desire to stay in-country applies particularly to people with especially sought-after skills and profiles, including people younger than age 30. Only around a third (34%) of young Chinese are willing to move abroad for a job, far below the global average of 62%.

In addition, just half (51%) of Chinese who are highly educated, with a master's degree or doctorate or the equivalent, would be willing to leave the country for a job, compared with a global average of 61%.


The draw for overseas Chinese to return

China is now the 20th most popular destination worldwide, according to the survey's respondents. That's a rise from 2014, when China was number 29. 

China's overall attractiveness helped make its major cities more popular as well. In 2018, Beijing is the 41st most popular choice for people willing to move abroad for a job, compared with 67th in 2014, according to the survey.

China's booming economy and expanding labour market also means that overseas Chinese are showing increasing willingness to come home. Survey respondents most interested in moving to China come from several Southeast Asian regions, including Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, Japan, and South Korea.

Many of the estimated 50 million ethnic Chinese living outside China make their homes in those regions. The geographic proximity and, in some areas, shared ethnicity, language, and culture could make relocating for work easier for residents there. China is also a top destination for respondents from Pakistan, South Africa, Panama, Uzbekistan, and Australia.

"This study reflects and reinforces the changing trends we have been observing in China's workplace for the past half-decade," said Eugene Sun, Zhaopin's Head of Strategy and Corporate Development.

"[The] survey indicates that the largest obstacle overseas returnees are facing is their lack of knowledge about recruiting trends and opportunities in China,” he added. 

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