Understanding Chinese Millennial Workers

22 Sep

There has been a lot of media coverage about American millennials and their behavior. For example, click here: 1, 2, 3. There has not been as much attention on other millennials. Hence, today’s post, “Understanding Chinese Millennial Workers,” explores that generation in the world’s biggest country.

 

Understanding Chinese Millennial Workers

 

 

“China has gone through huge economic and cultural change. Overall, one of the biggest value shifts is between older and younger generations. Chinese millennials, age 18 to 35, represent 385 million people — 28 percent of the population. By 2025, 75 percent of the workforce in China will be millennials.”

“For over 20 years, I have coached Chinese leaders and employees across generations. As a result, I have seen several trends that distinguish the younger Chinese population. Younger, urban Chinese tend to be more influenced by global trends than older, more rural Chinese. Also, they tend to be more individualistic, direct, and open. They are entrepreneurial, mobile-dependent, and tech savvy. And, they are most likely an only child.”

“Thus, if you’re a foreign manager with Chinese employees across generations, how do you earn respect? What do they expect from managers? The tips that follow can help foreign managers bridge the generational and international divide with Chinese millennials.”

 

 

Tips

Before looking at Hu-Chan’s tips, consider this: The number of Chinese millennials far exceeds the total U.S. population! Finally, here are her tips (explained in detail by clicking here) for foreign bosse:

 

  • Be sure to show caring and warmth.
  • As a boss, know your business well.
  • Ask for input from employees.
  • Understand “face” — “‘Face’ (mianzi) plays an important role in business and society. And it is much more subtle than the American understanding of ‘face.’ It is about dignity, status, prestige, respect, and honor.
  • Lead by example through your behavior.
  • Demonstrate a strong interest in employee development.

 

Understanding Chinese Millennial workers is essential. If you're a foreign manager working with Chinese "knowledge workers" across generations, how do you earn their respect? What do they expect from their managers? The following tips can help foreign managers bridge the generational -- and international -- divide with millennial Chinese workers. Show caring and warmth. These observations are from executive coach Maya Hu-Chan.

                             Credit: Getty Images

 

10 Responses to “Understanding Chinese Millennial Workers”

  1. Rahul Bodawala September 23, 2017 at 6:54 pm #

    China as a nation has a enormous workforce to get things done and that’s why we’re seeing things that are so different and unique produced in China. As mentioned in the article that 385 million people who’re working are millennials and that figure would be much more by 2025 and that is one reason why the work trend is changing as millennials tend to be risk takers and more aggressive in their approach as compared to Gen-x and Gen-y. If the prediction is true then China has a whole lot to offer to the world.

  2. Harminder Pathania September 24, 2017 at 11:10 am #

    With the new mindset in a new generation, there can be a significantly rapid and interactive change in the way the businesses operate with nearly all sectors of society, and businesses around the world. Even though the Chinese millennial workforce may appear to be more individualistic and open to expression, the guidelines set as tips emphasizes respect, honor, initiative, and a strong relationship between bosses and workers. All of these factors combined with the ideals of millennials can be a great combination!

  3. Faith Pappalardo September 24, 2017 at 1:53 pm #

    An interesting point brought up in this post is that most of the Chinese millennial workforce are only children. This makes me wonder if the stereotypical “only child syndrome” plays a role in their work environment. Would this lead to a strong sense of entitlement? This would correspond to the prevalent sense of entitlement U.S. employers need to be aware of with U.S. millennials. It would be interesting to think about the way in which bosses could give their employees constructive criticism without discouraging them. Showing an overall interest in the development of the employee and their growth/development as mentioned in the article would definitely be a good start.

  4. oheycj September 24, 2017 at 2:07 pm #

    It’s interesting that Chinese millennials are increasingly independent, like American millennials, because the Chinese culture is very familial and interdependent. It makes me wonder if it has anything to do with the fact that most are an only child or if it’s simply because that’s the way the whole world is shifting.

  5. Mark Accardo September 26, 2017 at 2:43 pm #

    First I would just like to mention how incredibly insane it is that the Chinese millennial population is greater then the total U.S. population. Secondly, the idea that they are most likely an only child can be a reason to all the traits mentioned above. Growing up in a family of four siblings, In my understanding, I was more likely to be influenced and was greatly influenced by my siblings. For the Chinese population, it was mentioned that they are more influenced by society and I contribute that to the fact that most of them are single children.

  6. Rebecca September 27, 2017 at 3:27 am #

    Millennials are often under the interpretation that they are lazy and don’t work as hard as their parents used to. Considering that by 2025 it is estimated that 75% of the workforce in China will be millennials, this is definitely goes against what most parents believe. It is great that younger Chinese are becoming influenced by global trends, because it will help in the workforce and it just overall educates them on current issues and up and coming trends. With the tips and advice given by Hu-Chan, I believe that these are effective ways to bridge the gap between millennials and foreign/older managers.

  7. Arbaaz Khan September 27, 2017 at 1:12 pm #

    It is crazy to believe that by 2025 75% of the China workforce will be millennials. Children in China are seen as being more independent because they have no siblings compared to American millennials who have siblings to be more dependent on their parents until they are able to support themselves. There independence translates to the large percentage in the workforce because they are able to support themselves at an earlier age.

  8. Ciera Nickel September 29, 2017 at 9:55 pm #

    It’s interesting that Chinese millennials are increasingly independent, like American millennials, because the Chinese culture is very familial and interdependent. It makes me wonder if it has anything to do with the fact that most are an only child or if it’s simply because that’s the way the whole world is shifting.

  9. Aneel Bapodra October 1, 2017 at 8:10 pm #

    As someone who goes to Hofstra and sees so many foreign exchange students on a daily basis with a heavy Chinese influence, its definitely easy to see how hard working and how well they reflect the values listed in this article. While they are foreign and might not be as experienced with the American culture yet, they are easy to interact with, kind, and here to get the most out of their education.

  10. Qiuxuan Lin October 2, 2017 at 9:52 pm #

    Being a Chinese millennial, I always heard about the complaints from the older generations. The older generations hold that we are spoiled and fragile, because of the birth control policy. Indeed, some of us are spoiled. Yet I believe that most of us get benefit from the better education. The “face” concept, actually, is not popular in the millennials. “Respect” could replace the “face” in the younger generation in my personal view. Anyway, as a Chinese, I do hope the change of young people can make the country develop faster.

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