Businesses Discuss the Future of China's Workforce

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Beijing, June 28, 2019 – Foreign-invested enterprises total fewer than 3% of China’s total number of registered enterprises, but create nearly 10% of China’s employment. This productive workforce also drives close to 50% of China’s foreign trade and produces 20% of China’s tax income, according to government statistics. Millions of well-educated and highly skilled employees have made tremendous contributions to empower the growth of China’s real economy, improving the business climate, and serving as an engine of innovation. Most importantly, they can build bridges that enable China and the rest of the world to share concrete achievements with one another.

Now in its 20th year, the American Chamber of Commerce in China’s (AmCham China) annual Human Resources Conference marks the celebration of its success in helping to build this professional community, and to showcase the commitment of American and other foreign companies in creating not just GDP numbers, but a better overall workforce that empowers the economic growth of China and the world. 

At a time when business growth is being challenged by increasing political instability, more restricted market access, more severe competition, more stringent compliance requirements, and higher skills needed to manage technological disruption, the challenge for HR departments is to create an accommodating corporate environment by helping individual employees, business leaders, key functions, and their organizations as a whole.

“The wider HR community, including in-house HR leaders, corporate executives, service providers, and educators, can often appear to be understated,” said AmCham China Vice Chairman Colm Rafferty, “but this group speaks to the most visible commitment that American businesses deliver to the continued prosperity of US-China trade relations, by growing an increasingly diverse and productive workforce for the Chinese economy.”

Throughout the full-day conference, close to 200 senior representatives from across the business community discussed a wide range of topics in an increasingly disruptive era. Three panels tackled HR transformation in the quest to create more accommodating workplaces; workplace culture as a pillar of our organizations and the measurability of cultural transformation success; and driving diversity and inclusion in progressive organizations. Meanwhile, an afternoon workshop focused on the future of employment and the integration of a new generation into the workforce.

Speaking ahead of the HR Conference, keynote speaker Michael Distefano, President for Asia Pacific at global organizational consulting firm Korn Ferry, stressed the importance of organizational evolution in order to meet society’s future needs. “It’s not necessarily that there aren’t enough people in the world,” he said, “it’s that there aren’t enough of the right people. Korn Ferry is predicting that by 2030, there will be 47 million unfilled and open jobs around the world that will cost us trillions in unrealized GDP.”

Over the past two decades, AmCham China’s annual HR Conference has provided a key platform for its members and the broader HR community in China to benchmark trends and share insights about cutting-edge innovation in talent acquisition and retention, organizational development, employee engagement, and the creation of improved value for business growth. Meanwhile, the American business community has been a central part of China’s record-breaking economic growth since it opened up to the world, and stands ready to support the future growth of the Chinese economy.

AmCham China would also like to thank all its sponsors and partners from the 20th HR Conference, including iKang, CDP, Westinghouse, Labours, Korn Ferry, United Family Healthcare, IQAir, Merits & Tree, FESCO, Cheung Kong Graduate School of Business, Message Coach, BIMBA / National School of Development at Peking University, Viva – Beijing Professional Women’s Network, and the Robert H. Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland.