德卡猎头近期的媒体采访(华尔街日报)

Demand Soars for China-Specific Finance Talent 《中国金融人才需求旺盛》:

By Meta L. Levin  2007.1.23
When Bernie Fung returned to Hong Kong 14 years ago, he secured a front row seat for the fastpaced economic transformation of the People’s Republic of China.

A HongKong Native who spent 20 years working and studying in Canada and the U.S., Mr. Fung is now CEO of AON Asia, a risk management consultancy, and finds himself competing for the limited pool of financial professionals who have expertise and experience of working in and with China. “It’s a challenge to find the right talent,” he says.

The rapid pace of economic growth is making China one of the hottest financial recruitment markets in the world. And multinational companies seeking to enter China are looking to hire candidates with skills that allow them to work in, and advise on, this complex market.

Companies arriving in china on the tide of foreign investment need accountants, auditors and financial managers who understand the market and are familiar with the variances between cities, provinces and regions. Demand is also high for English speakers, those with overseas and management experience, as well as familiarity with working in a multinational corporate environment and with new product sales, says Thomas Zhou, partner and co-founder of DaCare Executive Search, which has offices in Beijing and Shanghai.

“Native (Chinese) understand the culture, the policies and, most important, they have network connections with local government and companies,” says Sherry Liu, a Beijing native, now based in Milwaukee, who has lived in the U.S. for 22 years and operates SimChain Global Logistics LLC, and outsourcing company in China. Like most, she believes that the best picks are the “haigui,” Chinese who studied abroad and know the international game rules.

That, however, is one of the biggest challenges, and recruiters like Guy Day, managing director of Ambition Asia, an accounting and finance recruiting firm in Hong Kong, struggle to find enough Mandarin-speaking candidates who hold a U.S. Certified Public Accountant, British Certified Practical Accountant or similar certification from other countries.

Chinese colleges and universities are turning out an increasing number of entry-level job candidates, but there are few middle and upper-management Chinese with the necessary experience in international commerce, making the competition fierce and salaries rise. “Investment in education didn’t start until about 10 years ago, so there is a greater supply of those with little or no experience and the top jobs are going to people from Hong Kong or to non-Asians,” says Mr. Day.

It can be difficult, however, for non-Asians to understand the cultural complexities of working in china. “Sometimes a manager coming in from another country will have problems, because he doesn’t know how to handle the locals,” says Leonard Sarkissian of Milwaukee, Wis., whose company, international Harbor LLC, helps foreign firms through the process of setting up a business in China. He emphasizes the importance of learning to read cultural cues. For instance, Chinese will not say no directly to guests. They may say,” it’s very difficult,” explains Ms. Liu. “There are many ways to show their disagreement, but none of them is no”. Foreign managers who don’t understand that may find the process frustrating and counterproductive.

Recognizing this, AON Corp., AON Asia’s parent company, recently initiated a program to identify Chinese national studying in the U.S., hire them and put them through a training program before sending them back to China to work at either AON’s insurance or brokerage offices there.

Those who take internal audit jobs in China must be ready for a lot of travel, and that can make these positions a tough sell, says Mr. Day. “Some of the junior-Level jobs have 90% travel. You are literally living out of a suitcase.” Accounting and financial analysis jobs tend to have considerably less. Since many companies have manufacturing facilities in China, it also is important that those looking for jobs understand and be familiar with this environment, Mr. Day says.

Chinese job candidates are becoming more sophisticated. Whereas salary was king for many years, whey now are evaluating employers by career trajectory, training and overseas opportunities, as well as remuneration.

“Candidates have woken up to the fact that working for the right company and having the opportunity to work their way along a clearly defined career path can be worth more than money along,” says Mr. Day. While money is still strong attraction, he finds the market maturing as those with financial expertise look for careers and not just jobs, and cast a critical eye on such things as location and travel opportunities. Employees also prefer big name multinational companies, seeing in them more opportunities in the long run.

An increasing number of young Chinese job candidates are looking for companies that will finance their M.B.A. studies, says Mr. Sarkissian. In fact, it has become a part of some corporate retention programs in China. An employer will offer to pay for graduate school in return for a commitment to stay with the company for certain number of years. A lot of Chinese universities also now have partnerships and joint programs with those in the U.S. and Europe. Often a job candidate will ask if the company will pay for an M.B.A. as part of the interview. “It would be the kicker for them,” says Mr. Sarkissian.

Language is a big issue. Although Mr.Fung agree English is the international language of business, he believes that finance professionals who want to be successful in China do need to at least be familiar with Putonghua, the official Mandarin dialect spoken in most of the large cities.

“As a hot growth market, more U.S. companies are trying to establish their presence (in china), which does create additional demand for managers who are fully Mandarin-English fluent in both language and culture,” says Susan Amy, director of the Career Management Center at the university of North Carolina’s Kenan-Flagler Business School.

These is also the issue of Chinese familiarity with Western business culture. “Part of the advice I give is to raise your hand and speak up at meetings,” says Corbette Doyle, AON’s U.S. –based global chief diversity officer. “That is culturally unacceptable in China.” It is Ms. Doyle’s job not only to promote diversity in AON’s offices around the world, but also to find ways to do business without stepping on cultural toes. She cites as an example a group of Chinese AON employees who founded the “China Desk” within the company. They help AON’s U.S. clients who want to go to china, as well as Chinese clients who want to invest in the U.S. “They see it as an opportunity to help the organization and help themselves without raising their hands and saying ‘look at me.’” She says.

This entry was posted on 星期六, 二月 17th, 2007 at 8:25 下午 and is filed under News, Recruiting. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.