How to Hire Chinese Employees in China

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Hire Chinese Employees in China

This article is written for companies entering the Chinese market and about to hire Chinese employees in China. This guide to hiring in China has been designed to help them in developing a company’s business in China, and, of course, could be also useful to China experienced companies to take (or just remind) a couple of tips out of it.

First of all, when you are entering the China market, you should be aware that the way to recruit Chinese employees in China is quite not the way you used to in the western world. Moreover, sending your own experienced employee to develop business here – not always such a good idea. Most of the time foreign companies prefer to hire local professionals, and just bring them to their company’s country for 0,5-2 months for training on the company’s service/product/style of work if needed.

Before to start your search for the right candidate you should: 

  • Identify your needs
  • What type of candidate you need
  • Your expectations and plans for your company in China.

Candidates always want to know these details especially if you are just entering the Chinese market.

These days, China is a huge market for candidates and job opportunities. By now local candidates are “spoiled” with many opportunities and became very regarding in their choice. This situation is mostly in tier 1 cities, and it is less noticeable in smaller cities.

It is always a challenge to find the right talent for your company.

Options You Have When You Want to Recruit Chinese Employee in China

Your business may have a number of viable options to find top talent. Chinese people in major cities are accustomed to looking for work online. Some online and offline options include: 

  • WeChat – The social networking site WeChat caters to cosmopolitan areas and often lists local job openings. 
  • LinkedIn – LinkedIn is used by the majority of international companies to help find qualified candidates. It is especially popular in China since it is not restricted like Facebook and Google. Its use has skyrocketed over the last few years, jumping from 4 million account owners in China in 2014 to 41 account owners in 2018.
  • Region-based websites – Many areas in China have their own websites for jobs and other information in their regions.
  • Career events and job fairs – You will often find students who have just graduated.
  • Job boards – These may list your open positions. 
  • Professional recruitment agencies – These experts can develop a customized strategy to hire the best candidates for your open positions. 

How to Attract Chinese People in China, What to Pay Attention to

In China, we have certain “seasons” when people are willing or not to change a job.

The “rush time” for “job movers” will be in the April-May period. This is after people receive their annual bonuses, which usually happens in March-April time.

The hardest timing to look for employees will be from December to February, just “before the bonus time.” Employees would not want to lose their bonus obviously.

But there are some solutions to it if you can’t wait until May. Here at New Horizons we used to deal with this kind of situation on a regular basis and can offer you the most suitable solutions for every particular case.

At any time of the year, there is a big competition between companies to recruit the best talent in the market.  To “win” the right talent you should consider the following options:

  • Attractive salary package
  • Good bonus system
  • Additional benefits (such as annual leave, allowances, insurance plan, training and professional development programs, etc.);
  • Incentives
  • Attractive career development opportunity.

Talking about an attractive salary package: you need to understand the average market salary for the role you are hiring for, taking into consideration the city where the employee will be based, and the current compensation package of the candidate. The average salary increase for an employee joining a new company will be 10-20% to his current package.

Traditional Package of a Chinese Candidate Will Include

  • Base salary
  • Bonus (guaranteed/variable)
  • Social benefits (housing fund, social insurance, supplemental insurance), could be also allowances (business expenses, phone, meal, transportation, etc.), as well as shares and/or stock options.

When you talk with the candidate about his current package – better if you have these details – it will save your time issuing a job offer for the candidate.

Bonuses can be fixed, guaranteed, and variable, depending on the company and/or personal performance. It should be clear to the candidate when he will be considering your offer. Additional benefits are always a good added value to a job offer.

Annual Leave Entitlement for Chinese Employees in China

Statutory Annual Leave + Additional Annual Leave

Here is a table for the minimum annual leave days, which depends on how many years an employee is working for the company:

Completed Years of service in the PRC (accumulatively)
Statutory Annual Leave Entitlement (working days)
Less than 1 Year
No leave
1 > 10 Years
10 > 20 Years
> 20 Years

Every employee also has 11 days of paid public holidays, which includes:

  • New Year’s day (1 day)
  • Spring Festival/Chinese New Year (3 days)
  • Qing Ming Festival (1 day)
  • Labor Day (1 day)
  • Dragon Boat Festival (1 day)
  • Mid-Autumn Festival (1 day)
  • China National Holiday (3 days).

Allowances in China

It could be business expenses, transportation, meal, phone, etc.

For the local Chinese employees, you will have to pay social insurance, but it will cover only public hospitals in China. If you would like to make the life of your employees more comfortable and open them access to private clinics – you could offer an additional insurance plan.

Training Programs in China

Various training and professional development programs are playing an important part in attracting employees. Even more exciting – if it will be overseas. This will be a good added value, especially, for junior to mid-management level candidates. We have a lot of external training programs in China, both in English and in the Chinese language.

Companies Incentives

It will depend on the role and the company. Some companies, besides an earned personal bonus, encourage their successful employees by giving an incentive. It’s up to the company how they want to encourage their “star” employees (ex. trips, gift cards, memberships, etc.).

New potential employees always are interested to know how they can grow internally in the company they are about to join. For instance, if it will be possible to move even internationally to one of your branches in some period of time, it’s always great to have such an option.

A good career development opportunity plays an important part when Chinese employees choose between job opportunities they might have.

There are no limits to making your job offer more attractive on the market. Above are just general examples you could consider looking for a new employee in China.


What Local Talents Are Considering Before Accepting Your Job Offer

  • Brand itself
  • Your development plans, including outside of China
  • Company reputation
  • Title
  • Work-home balance, working hours
  • Management
  • Company culture
  • Office location, if it is far from a city center – if you provide a transport
  • Social/administrative part of the employment (housing fund, social insurance, etc.)
  • If the job is challenging in a long-term
  • If there is room to grow, promotion opportunities, pay raise opportunities
  • The interview process. There are a lot of companies who lost talented candidates just because messed up, not efficient interview processes
  • Even the work-place at the office itself

What to Be Aware of Before Interviewing the Candidate


  • Salary package
  • You don’t want to waste your and the candidate’s time if the candidate is way out of your budget.
  • Nationality
  • It happens often nowadays that Chinese people are other country citizenship holders. In this case, the hiring/administrative process will be as you are hiring a foreigner in China.
  • Standing offers
  • The candidate might be interviewing with other companies as well, and might already have some offer/-s on hand. You should be aware of that, because if you think that it is the right candidate for your company – you better hurry up with an efficient interviewing process, and offer an attractive job offer to convince the candidate to make “the right” choice in your favor.
  • The notice period of the candidate
  • In some companies it could reach 6 or more months, depending on the job position. If you are urgently looking to fill in the job opening at your company – maybe it will not be a good option to consider this candidate. 
  • Non-competition/non-compete agreement
  • Often happens that candidates have a non-compete agreement with their current company when they can’t join a competitor. There are legal issues following if a candidate joins a competitor anyway (maybe just because he/she was not aware of this or simply forgot). There are some solutions if you are considering a candidate with non-compete, but it’s important to understand the potential downside and build the hiring based on these circumstances to avoid a violation.

After You Found the Right Candidate and Are About to Issue a Job Offer

Again, make sure your candidate is not interviewing with other companies or already having another job offer on hand. The candidate could get it after/during the interviewing process with your company. If he is in another on-going interview process/-es or has another offer on hand – you should find out what will be most important for the candidate to make a decision. Maybe you could offer something more competitive than the other company to “win” the candidate.

Be Efficient With the Job-Offer Issuing and the On-Boarding Process.

Be prepared for a counteroffer. After the candidate receives the job offer – he/she will give a resignation letter to his current company, and there is a big risk that his/her current company will try to convince him/her to stay.

You need to know what are the core reasons why the candidate was looking for other opportunities than working at his/her company. You should make sure that your job offer meets the candidate’s expectations, or offer something he/she can’t have at his/her current company (for example, promotion, salary, attractive bonus system, company culture, etc.).

At New Horizons our China Headhunters Consultants know how to deal with various situations that companies are facing in China.

In our recruitment process, we are taking care of all the aspects mentioned in this article and many more. We customize our search and recruitment process to every particular project we lead, so if you don’t feel confident to do recruitment for your company in China yourself – we would be glad to take care of it and help you to find the right talent for your company.

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