The survey of 100 top expatriate executives showed that 90 per cent of respondents intended to stay on for more than three years, with 57 per cent saying they planned to stay for five or more years. About 80 per cent held general management positions in China including CEO and chief operating officer roles, with many in multinational companies, earning up to US$150,000 (about HK$1.17 million) a year.
According to the survey, among the factors that keep these executives engaged are the dynamism of the mainland job market, its booming economy driven by a positive outlook, great purchasing power, and a fast-paced decision-making and deal-closing culture.
Respondents also appreciated the greater managerial freedom to enact real change. "What happens in one year here takes at least seven years in developed markets such as the United States and Europe," said one respondent.
AESC president Peter Felix said the results confirmed a shift in executive hiring patterns that has been taking place over the past decade. "Our survey is a snapshot that signifies that executives perceive China as a positive environment in terms of compensation and longer-term career potential," he told the Classified Post.
The intention to stay longer suggests a general satisfaction with the expat lifestyle and career options in China, dispelling myths of insurmountable cultural differences and the prevalence of short-term expat assignments.
"The traditional model of hiring senior expatriates has been shifting. In the past decade, China, Brazil, India and Russia have become markets in their own right that need long-term localised management expertise," said Felix.
"We are now seeing national and regional talent pools develop. There is a worldwide shortage of talent and companies are hunting in four key talent pools: Western-educated local returnees with multinational experience; regional executives who may not be Chinese; the localised expatriate pool; and the local talent pool."
Localised foreigners are hired at compensation packages different from those offered to expatriates and local employees, Felix said.
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