Hiring expectations for China's IT market is rebounding as more companies seek talents in emerging technologies, such as cloud computing and mobile Internet. It is less clear whether Chinese companies are now more open to foreign employees to fill these gaps though, say industry observers.
Raymond Wong, general manager for IT&T (infocommunication technology and telecommunications) at Hudson China, noted that the country's employment market as a whole is slowing with 60 percent of respondents saying it will increase their headcount in its survey for the second quarter of 2012. This represents a drop from the 66 percent in the previous quarter, he added.
That said, the IT&T industry in China is bucking the trend as 65 percent of respondents said they plan to increase hiring, the executive said.
Liu Xingyang, senior human resource expert at ChinaHR, the China subsidiary for job portal Monster, noted that based on the company's monthly China Employment Index (CEI), the IT industry has always been in the lead for talent demand. The CEI is a month survey that tracks the demand for talent in different industries and cities, he explained.
He went on to point out that while there was a decline in hiring from March 2011, this has since picked up in February 2012. This rebound can be attributed to the fact that the IT industry continues to have show strong demand for talent recruitment, while the drop before that was possibly due to decrease in demand for labor-intensive, electronic information industry professionals, he stated.
Liu pointed out that one of the drivers for the resurgent IT job market is because of emerging technologies such as cloud computing and mobile Internet, with skilled workers in these areas highly sought after. The rise of group buying sites has also spurred the creation of many new positions, he said.
Wong added: "In recent years, many large international IT companies have established research and development (R&D) facilities in China due to cost savings and market demand." This, he said, has led to research experts, particularly in software development, being in high demand.
Mixed sentiments regarding foreign talent
While the IT jobs market is vibrant, the two market watchers did not share similar sentiments regarding Chinese companies opening up their doors to foreign employees to meet the talent gap.
Wong, for one, said most Chinese organizations still prefer to hire local candidates as they are well-trained and can easily adapt to the working culture in China.
Liu, however said enterprises in China will recruit based on their business needs, and not based on nationality. This can be seen by more companies turning to recruiting firms specializing in hiring candidates from overseas.
"With the acceleration of internationalization, more and more Chinese enterprises are eyeing international talents," the ChinaHR executive said. "Chinese enterprises are especially interested in talents possessing special skills or management skills to support their internationalization strategy."