One of our goals for our recent trip to China was to learn about the human resources environment. We wanted to learn more about the skills gap Chinese companies were experiencing so we could work with our partners to develop educational curriculum to train a new generation of skilled professionals. The news out of China suggested that while unskilled labor was plentiful, considerable shortages of professionals who have adequate levels of creativity, risk propensity, and cross cultural management skills were challenging the effectiveness of both Chinese companies and multinationals operating in China.
During our trip we met with executives at the Developmental Dimensions International (DDI) office in Shanghai China. While there, we learned that the “war for talent” that American companies are experiencing was also being waged in China. Erik Duerring, DDI’s Director of Consulting Services in Asia, explained that China was experiencing a critical shortage of HR professionals. First, the lack of qualified HR professionals limited organizations’ ability to develop their leader’s competencies to work in a global environment. Second, given the shortage of HR personnel, young HR professionals were advancing into executive roles very rapidly. This swift advancement has led to a cohort of executives that do not have adequate developmental opportunities, and thus had critical skills gaps. In general, Duerring suggested that these skills gaps fell into 3 categories; global acumen, cross cultural management, and overall business acumen.
ICCM and the I/O program at Florida Tech are now working with Chinese Universities to expand the training opportunities for HR professionals in China. In time we may be able to help reduce the skills gap so our partners can grow their global business.