China Recruiting & HiringReading Time: 4 minutes
After you decide to expand to China, you need to focus on hiring dedicated talent that will help grow your business. However, the process involves more than just finding the right candidates. Companies need to understand every aspect of Chinese employment law and compliance to avoid fines or other penalties.
Recruiting in China
If you live and work in a Western country, there’s a good chance that your workplace culture is drastically different from what’s expected in China. Understanding the nuances of doing business in China is critical if you want to ensure a smooth recruitment process for your international team. Keep the following guidelines in mind as you begin staffing overseas.
1. Avoid Being Overly Direct
Communication style can be a significant barrier when you’re staffing and recruiting in China. In Chinese working culture, being too upfront and opinionated can be seen as rude. Hierarchies matter, but you still shouldn’t be too direct when you’re getting to know prospective employees.
2. Emphasize Titles
In China, using titles is an important way to show respect. Employees address each other in business settings by their titles, such as Manager or Director, followed by their names.
3. Stay Calm About Punctuality
In many Western societies, time management is critical — especially when it comes to business. This is not necessarily the case in China. If an employee is late to work, colleagues typically assume they had genuine reasons and brush it off. You should arrive to meetings and interviews on time, but keep in mind that tardiness is excusable when you’re meeting with prospective hires.
4. Expect to Build Deep Relationships
In China, it’s not unusual for coworkers to spend time together outside of office hours. Personal questions are not necessarily off-limits during the recruitment process, and if you take the time to get to know prospective employees, they’ll know you respect them and value the collective.
5. Be Open to Negotiation
In many countries, a business contract is set in stone. In China, on the other hand, there’s always a bit of room for negotiation. Don’t be surprised if prospective employees or new hires take the initiative and ask to make changes to their employment contracts. Be flexible, keep an open mind, and hear them out.
What Is the Recruitment Process in China Like?
Just like you would anywhere else, you should begin the recruitment process by identifying your requirements and figuring out what type of candidate you need on your international team. You should also consider the plans and expectations you have for your company in China.
Recruiting can be very competitive in China depending on what industry you’re in. Local candidates often have plenty of employment opportunities to choose from. Many of the most skilled employees have jobs already, and they’re not actively looking at advertised job postings. As a result, some companies choose to work with headhunters to recruit top talent. Unfortunately, traditional headhunters can be an expensive option.
In major Chinese cities, people are used to looking for jobs online. You can use traditional job search websites as well as regional sites that feature job listings and hiring options. Some social media is restricted in China, so you probably won’t have much success if you choose to take that route.
How to Attract Top Talent in China
If you want to attract the best employees to your company, you’ll need to have a good bonus system, an attractive salary, and attractive opportunities for career development.
Timing is also critical to hiring in China. Many Chinese companies give annual bonuses to their employees in March or April. As a result, employees will be reluctant to leave their current positions in the months leading up to those months. The best time to hire employees in the country is between April and May.
You’ll also need to be aware of the laws against employment discrimination in China. The Employment Promotion Law and the Labor Law ensure basic provisions of equality for employees. Companies cannot discriminate based on gender, race, ethnicity, disability or religious belief.
How to Hire Employees in China
China employment compliance begins when you start to hire employees. Chinese labor laws lay out basic principles for hiring, including treating all employees fairly and equally regardless of race or sex. Employers are also not allowed to hire anyone under the age of 16.
Employers must sign employment agreements with their workers when they are hired. However, the employment agreement process depends on your business structure. Limited companies are the only businesses that can sign contracts directly with Chinese workers, while a representative office must hire local employees through a local service unit — a licensed third party.
China Employment Compliance
To ensure employment compliance, keep in mind the maximum number of hours employees can work each day and week. The Labor Law of the People’s Republic of China states that employees cannot work more than eight hours a day or 44 hours a week. It also designates a five-day work week, with government offices closed on the weekends. Employees typically work from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. every day with a two-hour lunch break from noon to 2 p.m.
The law also outlines paid vacation times based on the number of years worked. Employees who have worked less than one year do not get vacation time, but vacation days accumulate until those who have worked 20 years get 15 days of paid annual leave.
How to Onboard Employees in China
The best way to onboard employees is to create a strong employment contract that includes the employee’s compensation, benefits, and termination regulations. The Chinese labor law mandates employers to have an employment contract with employees, and it states that all offer letters and contracts should include compensation amounts in Chinese yuan renminbi.
Although not required, it is best practice to let employees know ahead of time what you expect in terms of a code of conduct, dress code, working hours, and more. Sending out an email before an employee’s first day can create an overall better experience and lay out expectations in advance.
Benefits of China Hiring Outsourcing
Instead of hiring employees in China and keeping track of employment compliance alone, you can work with a China global PEO. Globalization Partners handles everything from hiring employees to ensuring your company’s compliance with all employment laws. We can even act as the employer of record to take the liability off your shoulders and place it on ours.
Contact us today to learn more about our services and how we can help expand your business into China.