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China – Quality of leadership is fundamental to talent hiring

Senior talent in China says that quality of leadership is what matters most, according to a new report from executive search firm Heidrick & Struggles.

The report from Heidrick & Struggles, ‘Getting Employer Branding Right in China’ surveyed 151 senior executives at director level or above in mainland China to understand how extensively employer branding affects corporate success, and the factors that attract them to and retain them at an organisation.

When asked to pick the three most crucial factors that make an organisation a good place to work, respondents name 'high quality of senior leadership' (57%) and 'attractive corporate culture' (52%) higher than 'a competitive employment offer in terms of salary and benefits' (49%). Yet, good company brand and reputation, clear personal development and promotion path are seen as less important factors when it comes to the pull factors.

When asked what attracts them to a company, more than 90% of the executives in the survey say that having senior leaders who are charismatic, inspiring, credible spokespeople is very important to their decision in joining a company.

"Our experience shows that the turnover rate of senior executives in China is roughly 12-15%. As the competition for talent heats up, companies cannot rely on remuneration as the only weapon for attracting and retaining best-in-class senior leaders," George Huang, Head of China at Heidrick & Struggles, said. "Most senior level employees in China would like to follow an inspiring leader with a strategic vision, whether it is to achieve certain business or financial goals or to disrupt an industry with an emerging technology. The satisfaction that comes from working with inspirational leaders that cultivate a strong company culture is increasingly influencing senior-level executives' employer decision."

When it comes to retention, the most important leadership qualities that encourage employees to stay are that senior leaders trust their staff, have a high level of transparency, and foster two-way communication between management and employees.

Meanwhile, 31% of executives surveyed say they are currently looking for new job opportunities and hope to leave within 12 to 18 months; an additional 29% say they may leave within the next two years if better opportunities are available.