The Secret of the Disappearing Workers in China – 2+2 Reasons Why Chinese Workers Do and Don’t Job Hop
People wish to be settled: only as far as they are unsettled is there any hope for them – Ralph Waldo Emerson
Imagine for a moment, the most key person outside of your company that you work with on a regular basis. Perhaps she or he is a key customer or contact for your work. Now imagine that the person holding this key role has changed four times in the last three years.
Welcome to China.
Chinese Workers on the Run
You may be surprised to find out that a key contact you work with from a Chinese company or factory is gone without prior notice – the only notice you ever receive is an email or comment from someone else in the factory who lets you know he or she is gone. This has happened to me many times over.
Turnover in Chinese companies is incredibly high. Turnover among multi-national companies within China is also often quite high. What are some of the reasons behind this, you might wonder?
2 Reasons Why Chinese Workers Job Hop
- Higher Pay – The number one reason why Chinese workers at all levels job hop is higher pay. I have talked to countless people in China who say a very small increase in pay would be enough for them or someone they knew to switch jobs. Loyalty to many employers in China is virtually non-existant.
- Promotional Prospects – A surprisingly large portion of jobs in China present little prospect for true advancement. To get a better job (and not just one with better pay), many Chinese workers need to make a leap.
2 Reasons Why Chinese Workers Do Not Job Hop
- Getting a Job Near One’s Hometown – Pay is usually the #1 consideration among people looking for work in China. While most people would prefer to remain near their extended family, it’s often not a real choice. Life is hard for the large proportion of Chinese workers who send significant amounts of money home to families left elsewhere – and it is more important for many to be able to send money home than to be close to home. Obviously their families need the financial support.
- Lower hours / A more leisurely lifestyle – I don’t know a single person who switched jobs in China just so they could have a more relaxed job. Such people are bound to be out there – but I haven’t met any yet.
The Oxford Kid Bet
A person in a fairly important position (from our perspective – it is actually an entry level position) at a company we work with went to college at Oxford University. My coworker and I have placed bets on how long he will ‘last’ (pointing to the glaring fact that he is overqualified for the job) – giving him about six months for a position which has about two years as the usual turnover time.
Why do you think turnover in China is higher than in most of the rest of the world?
Please help out by leaving some thoughts below.