Supply chain and operations talents in demand

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There was a strong demand for supply chain and operations professionals in the first half of 2015. Although large corporates were relatively conservative in their recruitment activity due to the uncertainty in the global economy, automotive companies and parts suppliers remained active in hiring as the sector experienced continued growth. We also saw increased hiring from foreign small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) as these companies were more flexible in making changes to position themselves for growth in a rapidly-developing market.

As organisations sought to achieve cost efficiency by consolidating their resources, there was an increase in regional-level quality and purchasing positions. China’s position as a global sourcing centre also created more global sourcing roles, as more companies established sourcing centres of excellence to review their existing supplier portfolios and realign supply sources of different regions to save on cost. We saw a similar trend in the operations space and companies hired function heads – such as plant managers and operations managers – to centralise functions that were originally spread out in different plants.

With the rising operating cost in China, organisations also shifted their focus to producing quality products that were less labour-intensive. This drove the demand for R&D specialists with a solid engineering background. Professionals with experience in the area of electrical and hybrid vehicles were particularly sought-after to cope with the increased consumer demand for such environmentally friendly vehicles. Some companies sold their plastic parts business unit to invest in the electronic component business in view of its promising growth potential.

We anticipate similar hiring trends throughout the rest of the year, with technically-strong supply chain and operations professionals in particular demand as companies continue to upgrade their products. More plants will also automate their production lines by using robots and will require automation managers with strong product knowledge to design automation processes.

As the job market will remain active, candidates moving jobs will likely command salary increments of 10-20%. However, professionals are becoming more selective in choosing their employers and will consider factors such as career progression opportunities, as well as the product offerings and profitability of the business. It is important for hiring managers to highlight these aspects during the recruitment process in order to attract and secure their desired talent. We anticipate similar hiring trends throughout the rest of the year, with technically-strong supply chain and operations professionals in particular demand as companies continue to upgrade their products.

For the full report and latest salary information, please click to download the Robert Walters 2015 China Market Update - Supply Chain & Operations.

For more information about supply chain and operations recruitment, please contact:

Shanghai

Brett Rose, Director, +86 21 5153 5858

Suzhou

Rachel Wang, Director, +86 512 6873 5861

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