Jobs drive flops as executives shun low-paid state positions
The largest public recruitment of senior managers for Guangzhou's state-owned enterprises (SOEs) has had a poor response due to the low salaries on offer.
Analysts say the snub signals a new exodus of talent to foreign businesses with China's entry to the World Trade Organisation.
The Guangzhou Government initiated the nationwide hunt last month.
The 60 positions available range from chief accountants, economists and engineers to general and vice-general managers.
Participating SOEs include some of Guangzhou's most recognised companies, including Pearl River Brewery, Pearl River Piano and Guangzhou Honda.
The initiative, which also welcomed applications from Hong Kong candidates, was aimed at increasing the competitiveness of the SOEs.
The Yangcheng Evening News reported that organisers were agonising over the low number of applications and were concerned that the exercise, which will end in a few days, would be a failure,
The low salaries offered appear to be the problem. According to earlier media reports, the most senior positions - vice-general managers of large SOEs or general managers of their subsidiaries - come with an annual salary of 220,000 yuan (HK$204,800), or just over 18,300 yuan a month. More technical positions have a monthly salary ranging from 5,000 to 12,500 yuan.
In contrast, executives working for foreign enterprises or joint ventures were paid an average of 399,000 yuan last year - almost double their counterparts in SOEs, according to a survey on salaries in foreign-funded enterprises from 2001 to 2002, just released by the Guangzhou Labour Management Association.
The survey showed more than half of the foreign companies offered 16 to 27 days of paid leave in addition to government holidays. Most offered free meals and housing subsidies, while 75 per cent provided accommodation - a perk which used to be a privilege for employees of the state companies.
Yang Bo, a researcher at Shenzhen University, said: 'It is the tip of the iceberg. The exodus of talent will start from the coastal regions in the east and spread to inland provinces.'
It comes after one government official in Beijing, who dealt with the WTO agreement, was lured away by an annual salary of one million yuan from a foreign company, local media reported.