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Asia – Hong Kong top city for talent, Mainland China outlook worsens

25 March 2013

Hong Kong has overtaken Shanghai in attracting most of the professional talent in Asia, a new survey of over 5,000 employees by recruitment specialist MRIC found. But the research shows that over a third of professionals in Hong Kong intend to leave the city for other metropolises such as Singapore.

The MRIC talent report found that the number of people in Asia considering relocating increased significantly over the last 12 months, with the US, China, Hong Kong and Singapore remaining some of the most popular destinations.

And companies could also benefit from professionals having a negative outlook on China’s economy. “Only around a fifth of Mainland professionals hold a positive outlook for the Greater China region this year compared to some 43% last year. That bodes well for US and Western companies wishing to attract China talent who seem to be lured by career development opportunities and also a better quality of life,” said Christine Raynaud, CEO of MRIC.

“Along with the continued aspirations of Mainland China professionals to try out international careers, a potential scarcity of young Singaporean talent moving to China may signal a significant challenge in the future make up of middle and senior talent on the Mainland,” adds Ms Raynaud. That gap may be plugged by the increasing number of Taiwanese prepared to relocate and live in Mainland China.

The survey also found that managers and professionals in Greater China and Singapore are increasingly unhappy with their current pay with many wanting a better work-life balance. Workers were most unhappy with their remuneration in Taiwan and Mainland China. But this did not ignite motivation for people to move jobs as the number of professionals looking to pursue other opportunities fell when compared to the previous year.

“Last year, after a strong 2011 economy, the appetite for career development and promotion was more prominent,” says Christine Raynaud, CEO of MRIC. “In these more uncertain economic times, it tells a story of the major commercial centres across Asia, where the cost of living, housing, education, healthcare, and even retirement are focusing minds on cash over career.”

Across China, Hong Kong, Singapore and Taiwan, work-life balance is a major retention driver with flexible working seen as a clear benefit, according to the survey. Singaporeans and Taiwanese scored this the highest, followed by mainland China and Hong Kong. 

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