BMW is China’s best employer of 2017, topping a survey dominated by home grown companies

Tencent is second best employer, while China Merchants Bank – one of the country’s most innovative financial firms – is number 3

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 07 December, 2017, 10:16pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 07 December, 2017, 10:46pm

BMW is the best employer in China, according to a survey of 24.3 million respondents undertaken by the country’s largest recruitment platform, taking the top notch among 10 ideal work places dominated by local companies.

The German maker of luxury vehicles was the sole foreign company to make it to the top 10 list, according to the survey conducted by and the Peking University. The survey canvassed employees, graduates, academics and human resources experts, asking them to vote for their best employers based on corporate culture, image, salaries, benefits and management.

“The dominance of Chinese employers on the top 10 list reflects the rise of domestic companies,” Zhaopin’s chief executive Evan Guo said in Hangzhou, after unveiling the findings of the survey.

But he said he hoped that the list could be a more balanced mix in the future, which will show that foreign companies are not just in China for the money, but are committed to strengthening best practice in the market.

Local Chinese companies are becoming more attractive to work for, as a growing economy and a vibrant environment for start-ups helped reverse the rush to join foreign firms and multinational corporations. In a survey last year, four non-Chinese companies made the top 10 list: BMW, IBM, Mercedes-Benz and Starbucks.

Many Chinese companies in the new economy have also borrowed the workplace culture, perks and toys from Silicon Valley, changing their previous staid image.

Tencent Holdings, Asia’s most valuable company and operator of China’s largest social media network, is the second best employer of 2017, according to the survey. China Merchants Bank, one of the country’s most innovative financial firms, took third spot. The rest of the list was filled up by property developer China Vanke, internet company NetEase, insurer PICC Property and Casualty, search engine Baidu, courier company SF Express and carmakers FAW Group and BAIC Motor.

The dominance of Chinese employers on the top 10 list reflects the rise of domestic companies
Evan Guo, Zhaopin

Alibaba Group Holding, owner of the South China Morning Post and operator of the world’s largest online shopping platforms, dropped out of the top 10 list this year, from last year’s fourth position.

Still, university graduates preferred to start their careers at foreign companies to benefit from their structured management, with 33.6 per cent of surveyed graduates who preferred to work than further their studies saying that was where they would start their working lives. China’s state-owned companies received 23 per cent of votes as top choice, while private Chinese enterprises received 18.4 per cent of endorsement.

This year, more than 17,500 companies applied to vie for a place in the top 100 list, up 80 per cent from a year ago.

The rising number of participating companies showed that businesses in China are increasingly more vigilant in building up their brand as employers, as they compete for talent in a market where remuneration is no longer the jobseeker’s only consideration.

Employer brand, the “soft power of employers,” is gaining traction to help businesses obtain and retain talent, said Guo.

“Respect for employees” had become the most important factor in the evaluation of employers in today’s corporate world, followed by salaries and benefits, Zhaopin said.

The findings are particularly timely as overall wages are expected to rise in 2018 in China, especially in real estate, technology and education, according to a report this week by global recruitment firm Hays.