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Chinese employers most confident about increasing headcount in Asia-Pacific region says new report

SHANGHAI – 17 OCTOBER 2012 – There is great deal employers can do to help staff manage their workload and prevent them from becoming overwhelmed at work, according to the latest Hudson Report: Employment Trends published today.

The report reveals more than half of employees (58.1%) say they cannot always finish their tasks during a standard eight-hour working day although close to a third (31.2%) feel more able to complete their tasks than this time last year.

The report recommends employers give clear KPI’s to all their employees and conduct regular reviews to identify any skills gaps and training needs.

Hudson (NASDAQ: HSON), a global talent solutions company with expertise in leadership and specialised permanent and contracting recruitment, RPO, talent management, eDiscovery and project solutions, surveyed 817 China employers in August for the October-December period.

Lily Bi, Joint General Manager of Hudson Shanghai, said: “The China market is facing intense competition in many sectors at the moment and it’s vital for employers to maximise the productivity of their workers. This isn’t necessarily about working longer hours though; it’s about supporting employees and enabling them to fulfil their potential. Employers offering effective leadership, individual direction and monitoring, regular and timely feedback, coaching and mentoring will get the most from their staff. These techniques promote staff development and motivation, which means they help enhance productivity without overloading people.”

Hiring intentions still the strongest in APAC

The report also shows that Chinese employers are again the most confident in the Asia-Pacific region. More than half of employers (53.5%) in China say they intend to grow their headcount, while 40.2% plan to do so in Hong Kong, 35.9% in Singapore, 31.3% in New Zealand and 25.5% in Australia.

The survey shows a growing number (41.4%) of China’s employers plan to keep headcount steady and a reduced percentage (5.1%) intend to decrease staff.

“The latest hiring expectations data reflect the fact that this is the season for planning and review; expectations are often conservative at this time but there is still plenty of good news. The consumer sector, particularly luxury retail and consulting, is still performing strongly and related professions such as media, PR and advertising have a strong appetite for hiring too. Talent is very tight in this area and there is especially strong demand for Chinese professionals who have overseas experience in these disciplines. We expect this demand to continue for the foreseeable future,” said Ms Bi.

Most confident industries

Consumer is the most positive sector over all; well over half (58.0%) of Consumer sector employers plan to increase headcount. Media and marketing professionals are in similarly high demand; well over half (57.4%) of employers in this sector say they plan to increase staff in the next quarter. IT&T is strong too with 56.3% of employers planning to add headcount in the next three months.

Less confident industries

The biggest drop in recruiting intentions is in Manufacturing & Industrial (down 7.3pp). A slowdown in China's Manufacturing sector activity intensified as both output and new orders fell while manufacturers cut prices to compete for business. As a result, the HSBC China Manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) for August fell to a seasonally adjusted 47.6, its lowest level since March 2009, and employers became more cautious, putting their focus on retaining headcount. 1

Ms Bi commented that achieving the highest quality hires has never been more critical: “Organisations are recognising that every hire is an investment. If employers want to maximise their return on that investment, they need to commit to a rigorous, consistent recruitment process that goes far deeper than simply reviewing technical skills and reference checking. They need to be clear about what constitutes success in a role and which skills, competencies and behaviours are needed. They should recruit to that model if they want their business and teams to achieve high performance.”

The Hudson Report: Employment Trends has a reputation as a key socio-economic indicator in the current marketplace. Since its launch in 2000, the survey has been built on the premise that employers’ expectations of an increase or decrease in staffing levels represent a significant indication of their level of optimism about the growth of their organisation and their industry as a whole. The report surveys the expectations of over 6,400 key employment decision makers in Asia-Pacific including multinational organisations of all sizes in all major industry sectors. Respondents were also asked about whether their employees are able to finish their tasks during standard working hours (8 hours), employees’ view on working additional hours as well as effective methods to prevent employees from being overwhelmed at work.

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About Hudson

Hudson (NASDAQ: HSON) is a global talent solutions company with expertise in leadership and specialised permanent and contracting recruitment, RPO, talent management, eDiscovery and project solutions. From single placements to total project solutions, Hudson helps clients achieve greater organisational performance by assessing, recruiting, developing and engaging the best and brightest people for their businesses. The company employs more than 2,000 professionals serving clients and candidates in approximately 20 countries. More information is available at

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1 Reuters, China HSBC PMI drops to 47.6, worst since March 2009, viewed 2 September 2012.
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