in 2017


Key drivers

Overall wage pressure (3.1)

Wage pressures have eased as growth rates continue to fall. Although its wage growth is among the fastest in the countries featured within the Index, it is low by historical standards.

Talent mismatch (4.2)


There has been a modest increase in the rate of job vacancies. This indicates that employers are finding it harder to find workers with the right skills.

Wage pressure in high-skill industries (4.0)

All industries have seen strong wage increases. Particularly fast growth in high-skill industries including scientific research and health has led to greater industrial wage dispersion.


Education flexibility


Labour market participation


Labour market flexibility


Talent mismatch


Overall wage pressure


Wage pressure in high-skill industries


Wage pressure in high-skill occupation


Simon Lance

Managing Director, Hays Greater China

View from the Ground

A gradual easing of Mainland China’s Overall Index score in recent years reflects the growing capabilities of the local labour market to meet the demands of employers in most industries and professions. However, in niche high-skill and high-tech industries (such as internet, artificial intelligence, biotech, big data, etc.), Mainland China has successfully created a rapidly-growing and extremely entrepreneurial SME sector. Well-financed start-ups with innovative products and business models are aggressively targeting top talent from multinational corporations, attracting them with offers of generous compensation and benefit packages and potentially lucrative stock options. Macroeconomic factors will likely also have a bearing on business confidence and the overall talent landscape this year.

Simon Lance, Managing Director, Hays Greater China

COUNTRY profile

Mainland China’s economic growth continued to slow, albeit to very high rates compared to other major economies. Real GDP rose by just under 7% in 2017.

There is some evidence of labour shortages in certain regions: a third of firms surveyed by Standard Chartered in the Pearl River Delta industrial region bordering Hong Kong reported that labour shortages have worsened in recent years. This may in part explain the robust growth in wages in the manufacturing sector, although for the whole economy wage increases are smaller than the country’s past high levels.

Relative to industrialised economies, the economy is heavily reliant on manufacturing compared to services. It remains to be seen whether it will switch focus over time.

Key skills in demand

  • Internet, Ecommerce and Digital Professionals
  • Data Scientists/Experts
  • PE/VC and M&A Experts
  • R&D Managers in all Industries
  • Big Data and AI Professionals