Newsletter Q1 2022
Newsletter Q1 2022
In this edition of the Gemini Newsletter, we are going to talk about mental stress people get under a hybrid working pattern, the "lying flat" syndrome in China, while Singapore is revamping their expat visa policy and Thailand is ready to bounce back from Covid! You may also download the latest 2022 Q1 Gemini salary guide and last but not least, Gemini will be launching new websites for our Visa division and HR consulting division! Scroll down and find out more!

- 2022 HR priorities & needs -

- The lying flat phenomenon -

- Expat visa system overhaul -

- Going forward in 2022 -

Hong Kong - China - Singapore - Thailand
Challenges facing expats and international businesses in China

As the clock ticks past the two-year anniversary of Covid-19, a lot of the world is planning 2022 as the year where ‘normality’ will return. With a number of countries having a high proportion of their population vaccinated, countries such as the UK are deciding to live with Covid in an attempt to keep the economy moving.

In China, the story is quite different. Due to a series of strict controls and lockdown measures over the past two years, the risk of catching Covid itself has largely been minimised.

One of the policies that has had the biggest impact on businesses was the significant restrictions on foreigners to enter the country since March 2020, a policy which remains in place 2 years later, with no indication of when it will be removed.

Whilst the most obvious impact has been felt by those foreigners who have been unable to travel to China, the other significant impact has been on foreign businesses operating within China.

In a recent survey of British Chamber of Commerce members, the difficulty of Employing Foreign Staff was highlighted as the number one challenge that businesses currently face. This concern has been echoed in similar surveys and reports by other foreign Chambers and businesses.

British businesses expect the number of foreign staff they have in China to decrease this year as the restrictions continue, which results in a variety of operational challenges.

One result has been an increased ‘localisation’ of offices of multinational companies in China, with a lack of any foreign staff in the ground, which can lead to a disconnect with Head Office company culture and working practices and a lack of a bridge between different cultures.

The travel restrictions have also made it virtually impossible for Senior Executives representatives to travel to China to meet with their local teams and to meet with business partners face to face. This can lead to a disconnect between China staff and their global teams as well as missed business opportunities with local partners who place high importance on face to face meetings to establish working relationships.

For expats who are currently living in China, the shrinking of the foreign community here can bring some new opportunities. For expats with specialised  expertise, Chinese language skills and a desire to live and work in China for the medium to long term, then there are some career opportunities available to them as a result of the foreigner shortage.

At Gemini Personnel, we have received many requests for Interim Managers – experts who are available for short-term projects such as restructuring, Supplier/Quality Management and gap-fill projects.

Gemini works with a highly experienced talent pool of predominantly foreign Interim Managers, who since Covid have found themselves in increased demand for their expertise, as well as their capability to be the eyes and ears on the ground in China, and become that important link between company headquarters and their China operations.

If your company is lacking an international presence in your China business and would benefit from the expertise of an Interim Manager, to step in and provide support to your local team, then please do get in touch with our General Manager Barry Kirkwood for a confidential discussion and consultation.

Lying Flat – how China has responded to the Great Resignation

As a result of the disruption to working life due to Covid since the beginning of 2020, last year saw the rise of the phenomenon known globally as the ’Great Resignation.’

The Great Resignation has seen millions of workers around the world quitting their jobs or not returning back to jobs that had been placed on furlough to find a better job or to change their career paths.

Some of the major factors cited for people leaving their jobs include poor working conditions, low salary, insecure contracts, lack of career development, low sense of fulfilment, excessive overtime demands and a rising cost of living.

In China, the return to workplace ‘normality’ after the initial impact of Covid-19 in the first few months of 2020 was rather swift. Around the world, many workers either lost their jobs, had their salary or working time reduce or worked remotely for over a year, which played a significant role in the Great Resignation.

While the situation in China is somewhat different, the dissatisfaction with workplace conditions does share many similarities with those held abroad.

The Great Resignation was the major trend for many in 2021, whereas in China a more localised reaction came in the form of something known as tang ping躺平 or ‘lying flat’ which is seen as resistance from younger Chinese employees to the intense overworking culture and pressure to succeed in a hyper-competitive workplace.

People who adopt the tang ping’ describes a situation “where people opt out of the competition and consumerism for a lifestyle of low desire and low consumption.”

What the Great Resignation and tang ping have in common is a general dissatisfaction felt by predominantly younger works in their 20s and even up into their early 40s at their current employment and economic status.

In China, there is a fear amongst business and political leaders that this resistance to work attitude can also have a major impact on businesses due either to staff shortages and unfilled vacancies or a perceived lack of productivity due to a rejection of overtime working.

Traditional culture in China puts pressure on younger generations to own their own home and have children, but as the cost of living has skyrocketed in recent years, this goal appears to be out of reach for many in their 20s and 30s in China, so instead, they decide to ‘lie flat’

This has led companies to think carefully about their talent attraction and retention strategies and find ways to provide stimulation, development opportunities as well as reward and recognise their employees.

If the salary on offer is not enough to motivate an employee, then businesses must work hard to create other benefits to keep their staff motivated and fulfilled enough to want to stay.

At Gemini, our teams of Recruitment Consultants are hearing more and more from candidates about the importance of having a positive work environment, the ability to grow and develop in their career and a work/life balance, rather than just purely focusing on what salary is on offer.

Using this knowledge we have been working hard on our Gemini Development range of services which seek to support businesses to plan their Talent Attraction, Training & Development and retention strategies.

If retaining and motivating your employees is a challenge that your business is faced with, then please do get in touch with us to learn more about how we can help!

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