Poor education makes poor managers in China

The quality of China's workforce is improving, but not fast enough. This is mostly due to the inadequacy of the educational system, a new report from The Conference Board concludes.

by The Conference Board
Last Updated: 23 Jul 2013

General literacy is improving - the number of university graduates is increasing fast and has never been so high. But many of these newcomers in the workforce are not adequately trained.

The Chinese educational system relies heavily on memorisation but companies need creative and interpersonal skills rather than the ability to learn information by heart, particularly in modern-day China where business is now so international. Yet leadership and team work skills feature poorly on the curriculum.

Many multinationals have therefore started to forge links with universities in an attempt to tailor courses towards their needs. "It is an approach that should be mutually beneficial because it allows students to be trained in a way that is useful to the multinational," says Judith Banister, director of global demographics at The Conference Board and co-author of the report. "Those students then have a fast track into a job with that multinational when they graduate."

Because of China's one child policy, the country's population is aging rapidly, with a shrinking contingent of people in their 20s and 30s. The consequence for companies has been an acute shortage of managers and a high turnover amongst the talented ones as they go after the highest bidder.

"A lot of young Chinese managers bear the burden of looking after their aging and extended family and they will readily move between employers in order to get a bigger salary and more opportunities," concludes Banister.

Source: Bridging China's talent gap
Executive action No 221
The Conference Board

Review by Emilie Filou

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