How to Win in China as Talent War Heats Up

Tue Aug 5, 2008 12:00pm EDT

* Reuters is not responsible for the content in this press release.

Companies Risk Their Competitiveness in China If They Can't Retain
 Top Young Local Management Talent; New Study Shows How to Keep Young
                             Chinese MBAs

   Katzenbach Partners' "CHINA 2024," 20-Year Longitudinal Study of
  Recent Chinese MBAs, Shows What Companies Must Do - and Not Do - to
                      Keep Young Leaders Engaged

  Create Small Businesses Within the Business, Tap Entrepreneurship,
     Teach Leadership Skills, and Establish a Dynamic, Challenging
                              Environment

   Chinese MBAs' Focus is Not Just on Career or Company, but Also on
                          the Future of China
NEW YORK--(Business Wire)--
China is no longer just "the world's factory" - it's a
competitive, talent-driven business market where multinational and
Chinese companies are at risk unless they win the war for the hottest
commodities - young local MBAs.

   To recruit and, more important, retain young managers, companies
must focus not just on salary and benefits, but also on cultural
factors and a clear value proposition that speaks to the needs and
expectations of this new generation of leaders. Companies need to
remember that satisfaction among this group can mean something
different in China than in Western businesses, and best practices are
different as a result.

   These are some of the findings from the latest report from CHINA
2024, a landmark 20-year longitudinal study that follows 114 Chinese
nationals, all of whom received MBAs from prestigious Chinese and U.S.
MBA programs in 2004. The study was developed by Katzenbach Partners,
a management consulting firm focused on helping large organizations
achieve breakthroughs in organizational performance. CHINA 2024 is the
only ongoing survey of young Chinese executives. It seeks to provide
unique insight into top Chinese talent, what it takes to motivate
them, what their aspirations are and how they evolve.

   Chinese MBAs Want to Make a Difference for China - Not Just
Advance Their Own Careers

   "In many respects Chinese MBAs are like their American
counterparts, but in several key respects they're not," said Stacy
Palestrant, a Katzenbach Partners consultant and the leader of the
CHINA 2024 program. "The Chinese MBAs in the study - who are now four
years out of business school - want competitive salary and benefits,
of course. But they are also looking for work that is more than a job,
and that lets them make a difference, both in the company and in the
future of China.

   "China is a seller's market for management talent," Ms. Palestrant
said. "Talented young Chinese managers have no shortage of opportunity
- with global companies or with Chinese companies, where many of them
would rather work. Companies need to be skillful in managing them -
otherwise there is the clear risk that companies will pay for
expensive on-the-job training that the MBAs will use to get better
work elsewhere."

   Do's and Don'ts for Major Employers in China

   The research among the MBAs leads to some core "do's" and "don'ts"
for employers in China:

   --  DO give MBAs a chance to learn leadership skills. DON'T
        confine MBAs to the "back room" or "rank and file." When asked
        to name the most important things they want to learn over the
        next two to three years to grow professionally, CHINA 2024
        participants most frequently mentioned leadership skills:
        things like people management, negotiation, project
        management, strategic decision-making and communication. They
        want to take ownership and have an impact on the organization.
        "I enjoy my job most when the manager I report to trusts me
        and allows me to take on many initiatives," said a
        Beijing-based investment banker.

   --  DO help MBAs feel passionate about their jobs - and about
        their role in the future of China. DON'T think that Chinese
        MBAs are seeking only personal rewards. "If I leave the job it
        will be because I lose passion for the position," said one
        participant. And, said a Shanghai-based technology company
        manager, "During my work, I can observe the development of the
        economy of my country. This is a fantastic experience."

   --  DO keep the challenges coming. DON'T let the job become
        routine. Chinese MBAs want challenging jobs and dynamic
        learning environments. Their main reason for leaving a job was
        "it wasn't challenging enough." MBAs who found their jobs
        challenging said repeatedly that for that reason, they were
        more likely to stay at the company. They want to stretch. "I
        love my job because it provides the opportunity for me to do
        something new and difficult," said a Shanghai-based manager.

   --  DO create "small businesses" within the business to tap MBAs'
        entrepreneurial spirit. DON'T bury them in bureaucracy. As in
        the U.S., many smart young Chinese MBAs prefer the fast-moving
        pace of a small start-up or other entrepreneurial venture.
        Large corporations that want to keep them excited about their
        work should seek ways to create a similar environment within
        their own companies. Those that don't are at a higher risk of
        losing these workers. "If I were to leave my current job, it
        would be because I found a better development opportunity, not
        excluding creating my own business," said a Beijing-based
        manager.

   --  DO make sure that young Chinese managers get a sense of
        personal pride. DON'T treat their jobs as "just a job."
        Chinese MBAs look at the work place as a source of personal
        fulfillment. If they don't have a sense of personal growth,
        they'll look elsewhere. "I would leave my company because the
        job itself lacks challenges, and there are other opportunities
        that would allow me to realize my own value all the more,"
        said a Beijing chemical-company manager.

   "China is an increasingly sophisticated, complex and competitive
market," said Niko Canner, co-founder and Managing Partner of
Katzenbach Partners. "Navigating it successfully requires a sustained
commitment and an intelligent approach to securing and retaining
highly-trained management talent that knows and understands the
market, and how to conduct business in it. "

   To learn more about CHINA 2024, or to schedule an interview with
Stacy Palestrant or Niko Canner of Katzenbach Partners, contact Adria
Greenberg of Sommerfield Communications at 212-255-8386 or
Adria@sommerfield.com

   About Katzenbach Partners LLC

   Katzenbach Partners LLC works with leading global companies to
achieve breakthroughs in organizational performance. The firm applies
new thinking about how organizations work, serving companies across
industries to shape strategy, improve operations and effect change.
Katzenbach Partners is building a different kind of consulting firm,
one that integrates strategic problem solving with pragmatic insight
into people and organizations.

Sommerfield Communications, Inc.
Adria Greenberg, 212-255-8386
Adria@sommerfield.com

Copyright Business Wire 2008