Monday, August 30, 2010

No One Wants to Work for Americans

Part II in our "reputation economy" (it's not real but if we keep saying it, maybe it will become real!) series: today there's the news that a whole bunch of state-owned companies in China are looking for top-level management. Unhappy with the companies' performance, the government wants to up its game and made the unprecedented move of taking out full-page newspaper ads. Per the New York Times story (here):
"While some of the positions were restricted to Chinese citizens, many of the posts were open to foreign applicants..."
Based on my experience, there won't be a single foreigner hired for any of these positions. And there will most likely by 10 zillion local Chinese applicants....because (according to Newsweek):
In August, China’s biggest job-search site released a survey of 200,000 Chinese college students, ranking their preferences for employment. Only three non-Chinese multinational corporations made the list of the top 50: Google, Microsoft, and Procter & Gamble, all in the top 10. That’s a steep decline from the 21 foreign firms that made the list last year.
So, no one in China wants to work for a non-Chinese (read: Western or Japanese) company. You see, U.S. corporations are facing a perception problem in today's troubled "reputation economy."
"...particularly since the financial crisis, big Chinese companies are seen as offering less-risky jobs with more growth potential."
In short, it's risky to work for a U.S. company that will just stagnate until it then shrivels and dies.

On the topic of job opportunities, you would think a company like Sands China would offer everything that a globe-trotting executive would desire: growth industry (gambling in China), U.S. parent company, seasoned international management. But before you send off your resume, you'd better determine if you meet the strict age and race requirements (in the Macau Daily Times):
"Local gaming operator Sands China wants to have a new Chief Executive Officer (CEO) in place by the end of this year according to the company’s acting CEO Michael Leven, and the company would prefer the appointee to be Asian. “It doesn’t have to specifically be a hospitality or casino executive, but definitely someone with the right age and experience."
It IS very common for Asian companies to state in ads, etc. that they want someone of a certain age and they usually even request a photo. We don't know (or care to do the work to find out) if Sands China is allowed to have blatantly discriminatory hiring practices and operate completely outside of U.S. EEOC regulations (if it is a U.S. company, I would say no). Legality aside, this is an astoundingly non-PC attitude for the leader of a major company to be displaying in a public forum. And, they surely will be deluged with applicants as Leven says you don't need any relevant experience and just simply need to be the right age and race.

Thanks for reading
Jonathan Gardner

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