ShaunRein2Shaun Rein by Fantake via Flickr

Common complaints?  “Overly confident”, “spoilt”, “mercenary”, “and disloyal” employees. Shaun Rein looks in CNBC at one of the largest problems for foreign companies in China: the lack of a loyal labor force.

“Mama Mia,” the GM of an Italian company lamented to me over lunch in Shanghai, “The corruption I can deal with, but human resource issues are driving me insane. Workers are too short-term focused – 50 percent leave within two months no matter how much money and training we give.”

Every year the shortage of workers increases and getting enough labor is the nightmare of many employers. Shaun Rein:

An entire generation of younger employees constantly leaves jobs when the going gets tough or when they are dangled a minor salary increase. It is not uncommon for younger workers to have 5 jobs in 5 years. The result for the country is far too many over-confident, under-trained and spoilt 20-somethings.

What happens if these young workers never fulfill their increasingly unrealistic ambitions? What happens to China if it never gets properly trained managers in place? These are serious issues China’s society as a whole needs to address…

If the situation is not fixed, perhaps that Italian GM will join a growing list of companies shifting investment out of China to sunnier investment climates.

Shaun Rein is a speaker at the China Speakers Bureau. Do you need him at your meeting or conference? Do get in touch.

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