PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) China is searching abroad for
Chinese skilled professionals to cope with firm’s current market
demand. The Big Four firm said a shortage of professionals,
particularly in middle management, has led it to implement an
internal programme called the China Sourcing Initiative.

Launched last year, the programme has already attracted
professionals from London, New York, Los Angeles and Sydney PwC
offices to mainland China and Hong Kong. They are tasked with
recruiting new graduates and experienced people who have
international experience, local Chinese knowledge and sufficient
language skills. This initiative is in addition to the firm’s
extensive localisation strategy that continues to recruit more than
2,800 people locally each year.

PwC Global chief executive Samuel DiPiazza, who recently visited
Shanghai, said high economic growth rates in China has increased
the demand for professional services to such an extent that there
is a nationwide shortage of skilled staff. “Therefore, China-based
CEOs must develop talent strategies that attract and retain the
right people. The China Sourcing Initiative is one of the firm’s
strategies,” he said.

DiPiazza warned that the talent drain will pose a serious threat to
the pace of economic growth in the region and also the confidence
of chief executives unless steps to address the problem are taken.
These concerns were clearly illustrated in PwC’s 11th Annual Global
CEO Survey.

Asia-Pacific chief executives who took part in the study were most
concerned about the availability of key skills, with nearly
four-fifths of CEOs citing the problem despite substantial
working-age populations. Nearly eight out of ten chief executives
agree that their organisation needs to change the way they develop
talent.

DiPiazza added: “At present, it appears that chief executives are
responding to the talent crisis by focusing on internal training
and development of the existing workforce, but they need to ask how
effective these programmes are and how they connect to the overall
talent strategy. CEOs need to better understand, as well as clearly
define and communicate, why their people issues are matters of
crucial strategic importance and to embed their talent strategy as
an integral part of their overall business strategy.”

Globally, PwC has implemented the Performance, Coaching and
Development (PCD) programme that is being rolled out to over 9,000
employees across mainland China and Hong Kong. PCD is a training
initiative focused on quality coaching and timely feedback in the
everyday work of employees, which aims to enhance values and
performance, as well as professional development.

Nora Wu, PwC Shanghai office lead partner, explained: “Every
partner in the firm has spent two intensive days receiving
specialised skills training in coaching, to ensure our leaders in
the firm have the right skills to lead this important
programme.

“A workplace culture that nurtures the development of its people
will without a doubt help to retain as well as attract talent. We
are actively building our corporate culture through changing
behaviours, meaning our culture will be brought to life through
well-defined behaviours, with our partners taking the lead.”

PwC China invested nearly one million hours in staff training in
the 2007 financial year, and the average training hours per
employee were about 100. The firm said it also intends to recruit
2,000 graduates in this year’s intake.