2020 China Salary Guide

The Morgan McKinley 2020 Salary Guide outlines permanent salaries for professional roles in Shanghai, as well as the most in demand skills and prominent market trends.

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Why download our salary guide?

Latest Salaries

Our detailed salary tables allow job seekers to recognise their worth by benchmarking their current remuneration against industry standards. The tables are also useful for employers as they give an accurate idea of what they should be paying their employees.

Top Skills

We all know that every different job requires unique skills. Our salary guide highlights the key skill sets that hiring organisations have requested over the past twelve months, as well as what we expect to be in demand throughout 2020.

Market Trends

Our recruitment consultants are experts in their particular areas. From speaking to a wide range of hiring managers and professionals of all seniority levels, they have an up-to-date understanding of all industry occurrences.

Overview of 2019 as a whole

The words of Wang Xing, founder of Meituan, can be quoted to describe the job market in 2019: 2019 is indeed the worst year in the past ten years. The job market has always served as a thermometer of the economic environment. In 2019, most recruitment consultants felt the market was slowing down. Although candidates kept looking for opportunities, the number of job vacancies decreased overall. The internet, new energy vehicles, self-driving, e-commerce and new ways of retail, which have been booming in the past few years, also cooled down in 2019.

It has been the norm for the past 3-5 years that recruitment has slowed down in foreign-funded companies and even experiences a decline in some industries. However, private enterprises, especially those with strong scientific and technological contents, have slowed down significantly in their recruitment in 2019. Many enterprises have weak profitability, and more enterprises have stopped recruitment and even laid off staff with the continuous rise of Burn Rate, which is even worse for an already sluggish employment market.

Significant workplace trends

The job market didn’t experience any growth in 2019. More than 90% of the positions, whether in foreign-funded companies or privately-owned companies, are replacement positions. With the current oversupply of talent in the market, we can clearly feel the rise of flexible employment. Candidates' acceptance of flexible employment has also generally improved. This is not only found in the low-end and middle-end positions, but also in many high-level positions, which are project-based or short-term contract employment.

In addition, the limited number of positions makes employers often willing to spend more time on recruitment efforts. According to Morgan McKinley's statistics on the recruitment market in 2019, the average recruitment cycle of more than 2,400 projects entrusted by clients has increased from 6.3 weeks to 8.5 weeks, and the average number of candidates has also increased from 4.5 to 6.4 for each position. From this, we can understand that it is more difficult to match employers and candidates in 2019.

On the one hand, employers are more demanding than before. On the other hand, candidates often change their ideas during the interview process and even at the stage of signing the new contract. Since the average salary increase is decreased from 30% to 15%, joining the new organization is not that attractive to candidates now.

Enterprises began to use various ways to attract and retain core talent. In addition to providing generous salary and benefits, other initiatives such as employee stock ownership plans, flexible welfare policies and flexible working methods are widely used. The building and strengthening of the employer's brand have reached an unprecedented importance level. Recruitment departments of many enterprises have dedicated people to extensively explore the employer's value proposition and brand awareness. Digital tools such as WeChat official account and Douyin (TikTok) have become common methods for digital marketing. More enterprises have introduced new tools such as interview scheduling robots to enhance the candidates’ experience, and also improve the employers’ brand awareness.

Predictions for 2020 and beyond

With China's GDP growth expected to further slow to 5.8-6% in 2020, the job market is likely to stay at the level of 2019. However, the biggest and top organisations across all industries will be the ones to have the highest number of job openings and thus attract the largest number of candidates. From an industry perspective, es, enterprise service has become the focus of investment of major private equity institutions. In addition, medical treatment, financial science and technology, and intelligent logistics have also become the hot spots for investment in 2020.

For the hiring department of enterprises, We suggest hiring departments focus on building a dynamic talent pool and full market coverage in 2020. Although these two have become commonplace topics, we found that very few enterprises have really established the dynamic talent pool. Considering the increased uncertainty of recruitment in 2020 and the tighter hiring schedule,the early deployment of recruitment resources becomes crucial.

For candidates, we suggest that if the employer is a foreign-funded enterprise, the candidates must be clear about their performance in 2019 and whether the expected target in 2020 can be achieved. Many global headquarters are becoming more cautious in the local market in China. Most foreign-funded enterprises have been in China for more than 15 years, human efficiency has become an important indicator for all hiring departments. For candidates who are interested in joining private enterprises, we suggest that they pay attention to their profitability and financing status. Many information tools, such as Business Cards (Qimingpian) and Venture Capitalists (Chuangtoupai), are very good to help candidates understand the status of target enterprises. In addition, the investment direction of top private equity institutions can often provide ideas of job hunting. As the top players of the private equity industry have been more dominant in the past two years, these top players have attracted a large amount of capital and high-quality projects from the capital market, and their cautious investment decisions have become a very reliable reference for the job market. By paying attention to the background of the founding team, financing organisation, financing situation, team size and competition, the candidates can effectively judge their viability in the next few years.

Therefore, 2020 is indeed a year of requiring both employers and talent to upskill. To quote from the first season of Billions, the 2016 US TV series: You don't need to swim faster than sharks, you just need to swim faster than your peers to get safe.

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