What Inspires Chinese Millennial Women?

“For SMBs Especially…How Do You Find The Right Candidates?”

Chinese Millennials have many of the same motivations as their Western counterparts (Image: The Next Women)

This week, the business magazine The Next Women features an interesting article on finding, then cultivating, female Chinese talent — a job that requires a deep understanding about what Chinese Millennial women want and what inspires them. According to Beijing-based branding exec Faith Brewitt, getting a better sense of this generation’s motivations and aspirations is no small task. To get to the bottom of these career drivers, Brewitt polled a wide spectrum of young female professionals in China, encompassing “business owners, journalists, artists, students and managers from the IT industry, real estate and luxury markets as well as HR directors from small, medium and large enterprises.”

As Brewitt notes, her company’s research could be distilled down to three main lessons about what leads to successful recruitment in China:

1.) Hire Local, They’re Thinking Global

Not only are professional Chinese women highly educated, they’re globally minded and born networkers. As Brewitt points out, “A very real phenomenon in China today is young women collecting MBAs, not only for the international business knowledge and insights, but also to grow their professional and personal networks.”

2.) Millennials Really Are Alike

Going counter to the stereotype that young Chinese are an insular, inscrutable demographic of group-thinkers, Brewitt holds that “Chinese Millennials are like all Millennials the world over.” Like their counterparts in North America and Europe, young professional women in China with whom Brewitt spoke made it clear that they hope to work for companies with values that extend past simple profit, and believe they “deserve top dollar when it comes to salaries.” Though much has been made of the difficulty of maintaining Chinese talent, and this group’s proclivity to jump from company to company at a moment’s notice, Brewitt notes that this “is really a reflection of their discontent with companies that just don’t get them.” The lesson to be taken here, then, is for companies to “hire today’s young top talent now, invest in them and you’ll keep them around.”

3.) Use Them or Lose Them

Another factor that can drive greater employee loyalty in China is a genuine focus on enabling meaningful career advancement rather than simply money. Brewitt writes that a mistake made by many MNCs and SOEs is underusing their Chinese female talent, restricting their work scope to the China market alone. The greater global mindset and networking savvy of this employee demographic means they’ll quickly sour with a given company if they’re not given a role in the greater corporate structure. For a major multinational, this doesn’t mean investing in relocating young female talent outside of China, but as Brewitt advises, “they do expect to see HQ of the company they work for, or travel to a conference or trade show where their product will be announced.”

While much has been made of the best practices for keeping young Chinese talent, this article is among the most concise and effective due to its gender-specific nature. As Brewitt concludes, it’s not nearly as complicated as it’s made out to be, and if companies can offer their female Chinese employees opportunity for advancement, career involvement and an outlet for their personal passions, “The rewards for [the] business are too numerous to count.”

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Market Analysis, Retail