Executives in China Prefer Online Career Management Tools for Networking

A recent survey by BlueSteps, the career management service of the Association of Executive Search Consultants (AESC) provided insight into the role that social networking websites, both international and Chinese, play in executive career management strategy in China. 
Over 100 executives answered the survey; 54.5% were either in a Managing Director (29.7%) or Chief Executive Officer role (24.8%).  The remaining participants held job titles such as Chief Operations Officer (8.9%), Chief Financial Officer (5%), SVP (4%) or EVP (3%). Approximately 25% of these Executives were Chinese Nationals, and 65% were expatriates in China.
“Our China Executive Survey results reflect the change in senior executives' career management strategies in China,” noted AESC Asia-Pacific Managing Director Christine Hayward, “the survey results highlight the shift in the  role of “guanxi” in career management amongst executives as a result of online career management and social media sites.”
The term “guanxi” is used in Chinese to describe influential personal relationships. Of the respondents, 60.8% observed a change in the importance of personal relationships and in-person networking or “guanxi” as a result of online career management and social media sites. Similarly, in a separate survey for Hong Kong executives, 50% of respondents also noticed a change in the importance of such personal relations. 
Amongst respondents, LinkedIn remains the most popular tool for online career management. Only a few respondents indicated that Chinese social media, such as Weibo and Ushi, played an important role in their career management.  Interestingly, the mobile text app WeChat (or Weixin) is used by 8% as part of their career management strategy.
To senior executives in China, having an online career management strategy and an online presence on websites like Linkedin is important. However, while the vast majority of these senior executives have active and up to date online profiles, and many had been approached by headhunters online, only 19.6% have found a job as a result.
For a full copy of the report, please email Eoin Quirke at equirke@aesc.org.
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