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Multinationals Can Build a Lean, Mean Staff on China's Grad Glut

Stocks in this article: BIDUNTTDISGOOG

In the middle of the previous decade when I lived in Beijing, I met people who proudly quit jobs in foreign companies after just a few months as they found jobs that could bringing their monthly salaries up by a couple hundred yuan per month. Others bailed to attend graduate school, often at prestigious universities outside China.

Employer loyalty was not a factor that normally came up during talk about job switches -- though a benevolent boss or on-the-job learning motivated some people to hang on for a while. (Arthur Wang at Robert Walters also suggests that MNCs offer more apprenticeships to lock in good employees.)

What my frustrated friends did talk about: inconvenient workplace locations, dull job descriptions and trouble speaking to their superiors in foreign languages.

According to the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences survey as quoted on China's Caijing.com.cn, about two in three 2011 graduates had changed jobs once or twice already, and just 1.6% of those with jobs liked what they were doing.

If MNCs jerk their entry-level people around as the economy improves and they have more choices, expect higher turnover and lower productivity.

At the time of publication the author had no position in any of the stocks mentioned.

Ralph Jennings is on LinkedIn.

This article was written by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.

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