Strategies for success in hiring

China’ s thriving job market is a magnet for foreign-owned companies looking to take advantage of its opportunities. When entering the market, hiring Chinese talent can provide numerous benefits. In this article, Roland Brouwer of BIPO delves into the complexities of recruitment and employment in China, providing insights on how to successfully navigate this job landscape.

China’ s job market provides an abundance of opportunities across industries and cities. Whether it is the technology hubs of Beijing and Shenzhen or the financial prowess of Shanghai, each Chinese city has a distinctive attractiveness for employees. In addition, the country’ s unwavering commitment to innovation and technology has resulted in growth in sectors such as information technology, e-commerce, artificial intelligence and renewable energy, all of which attract top-tier talent from across China and around the globe.

Navigating China’ s labour landscape requires an understanding of local procedures and ensuring compliance. Offering professional guidance, fostering cross-cultural collaboration, providing competitive compensation packages and creating growth opportunities are crucial for attracting high-calibre talent. Foreign employers should be aware of factors such as:

  • Compensation: Besides their base salaries, Chinese employees often receive additional elements, such as performance bonuses tied to project milestones for software engineers or attractive commission incentives for sales representatives who surpass their sales targets.
  • Mandatory benefits: Chinese labour legislation prioritises the well-being of employees by mandating benefits. For instance, companies are obligated to contribute to their employees’ social insurance and housing fund, which ensures employees’ security in unforeseen circumstances.
  • Work hours and overtime: In China, there are regulations regarding work hours, typically limiting employees to work eight hours per day or 44 hours per week. Any overtime work beyond these limits must be compensated accordingly.
  • Public holidays and leave: Chinese employees generally are entitled to seven paid holiday days annually. Also, employees receive extra annual leave days based on their years of service. Maternity, paternity and sick leave are guaranteed by law.
  • Employment contracts: In China, written contracts that outline terms and conditions, job responsibilities, compensation, working hours and benefits are a requirement for all employees.
  • Employee termination: The termination of employment is strictly regulated in China. Employers must have valid reasons for termination, follow procedures and provide appropriate severance pay.
  • Language and cultural sensitivity: Maintaining good communication with a workforce is essential. Understanding nuances and overcoming language barriers will contribute to fostering relationships between employers and employees.
  • Privacy and background checks: According to Chinese law, consent is necessary for conducting background checks, including verifying employment history. There are also limitations on asking certain questions during interviews. For example, employers should not ask questions that could generate discrimination, such as on gender, ethnicity, disability, nationality or religious belief. For female candidates, questions about marital status, parental status or pregnancy are not permitted.
  • Contract renewals: When it comes to employment contracts, fixed-term contracts usually have a duration of two years. Employers should be prepared for the possibility of contract renewals or converting temporary into permanent contracts based on employee performance and mutual agreement.
  • Remote work and flexible arrangements: The trends of remote work and flexible arrangements, which became widespread as a result of COVID measures, have gained in popularity among younger workers, who often consider these factors when choosing a job. China’ s labour laws are adapting to such work trends in the post-COVID era by incorporating related regulations; therefore, it is important for employers to stay updated on these regulations to ensure compliance.
  • Legal compliance: To ensure compliance and avoid legal issues, it is crucial for employers to stay informed about any changes or updates in Chinese labour laws.

Paying attention to these aspects when navigating the Chinese labour landscape will help companies to improve their employees’ well-being, legal compliance and overall business success.

Creating effective recruitment strategies

Creating recruitment strategies is essential for thriving in China’ s job market. These strategies should address topics such as evolving skill requirements and regional differences. To find suitable candidates, it is important to have an in-depth understanding of the relevant labour markets, collaborate with industry experts and tailor job descriptions accordingly.

To attract and retain skilled professionals, companies should prioritise the reputation of their organisation, offer growth opportunities to their employees and provide a compelling job offer. Furthermore, understanding workplace norms and cultural etiquette is crucial for fostering professional relationships; for example, respect for authority, the value of relationship-building (guanxi) and loyalty are all aspects of the Chinese work culture. To retain talent, it is essential to offer clear career paths and initiatives that promote a work-life balance, as well as to create a positive work environment by capitalising on your employer brand, providing training opportunities and exhibiting robust leadership practices.

When it comes to hiring in China, foreign companies can utilise job portals such as 51job, Zhaopin, Lagou and BOSS Zhipin. These platforms can make recruitment easier by bridging the gap between companies and local talent. In addition, social media channels like WeChat and Weibo are also commonly used for posting jobs. However, it is important to note that the effectiveness of these channels may vary depending on your industry and the level of the position.

Navigating labour regulations: strategically outsourcing human resources (HR) management

Dealing with labour regulations in China can be challenging for foreign companies looking to establish their presence and hire staff. As a solution, many such businesses opt to outsource HR management to professional third-party agencies. This approach provides advantages that go beyond complying with local laws; it also enables companies to streamline their operations and focus on their core strengths. Outsourcing HR management is a strategy that simplifies the complexities of labour regulations, safeguards against risks, and frees up resources that can be utilised for driving innovation, expanding market reach and seizing new opportunities.


Excelling in China’ s job market requires a strategy that involves understanding local dynamics, adhering to labour regulations and employing strategic recruitment methods. As foreign companies enter this landscape, recognising the uniqueness of China’ s business culture, labour practices and talent pool becomes crucial for success.

Achieving staffing goes beyond recruitment; it involves nurturing and retaining talent. By providing competitive compensation packages and fostering growth and work-life balance, a positive work environment can be created that resonates with both local employees and international hires.

As you embark on your journey through China’s job market, keep in mind that success depends on planning, adaptability and an all-encompassing approach that integrates compliance measures with recruitment strategies while also considering cultural sensitivity. By taking this approach, your company will set itself up to overcome challenges and fully seize the opportunities of China’s job market.

Roland Brouwer is regional director of corporate and industrial relations for Europe at BIPO. Established in 2010 and headquartered in Singapore, BIPO is a global payroll and people solutions provider. Designed for businesses of any size from small and medium-sized enterprises to multinational corporations, our total HR solutions include Human Capital Management (HCM) solutions, Global Payroll Outsourcing (GPO), and Employer of Record (EOR) services across 150+ global markets. Our award-winning products are trusted by over 3,300 companies that manage 460,000+ employees worldwide.