Sourcing top-notch talents for China Inc

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Leadership expert excited about the ‘extraordinary opportunities’ for local recruitment

Kevin Connelly, a seasoned corporate headhunter and managing partner and chief executive officer of US-based global headhunter Spencer Stuart, said he felt quite excited about fresh developments in his industry. He and his colleagues have been successfully using their expertise to source professionals globally for Chinese State-owned companies.

Connelly said that a significant change in the mainland’s recruitment industry in recent years was that Chinese companies were still sustaining high rates of growth while many leading mainland enterprises were looking to go global.

That development, he said, laid down the challenge for them to continue developing leadership teams at home to support both the domestic and global expansion of their businesses.

The executive search and leadership consulting firm has a global coverage of 59 offices in 29 countries. The company has been operating in the Chinese mainland for over 25 years, having set up offices in Beijing and Shanghai in the early 1990s. Its Hong Kong office was set up in 1976.

Recently, he talked with China Daily about industry changes and business opportunities they were observing and their market strategy, especially for the Chinese market. The following are edited excerpts from the interview:

How do you assess the role of the Chinese mainland market in your global business strategy? Do you intend to increase investments this year?

The China market is very important in our global business strategy and our business in China has changed from serving, in large part, multinational companies to much more State-owned and private enterprises-especially over the past 10 years.

We are very committed to the continued growth of our business in China and we are looking to add more people in our business, both in Beijing and Shanghai. In the future we may open additional offices in China.

What business opportunities do you see, as China promotes the Belt and Road Initiative?

Many of us outside China admire the project because the strengths of the investment China has made are real models for the rest of the world. From a business perspective, the initiative will encourage investment in infrastructure and that is essential for continued growth globally.

What do you think of the flows of management personnel in China, compared with Asia in general, the European Union and the United States?

The significant change is that many major Chinese enterprises are looking to go global, especially in recent years. That generates the challenge-how can Chinese companies continue to develop the leadership teams that they have in China, to support not only the business at home but also their global expansion?