Magazine article Workforce Management

5 QUESTIONS for David Arkless

Magazine article Workforce Management

5 QUESTIONS for David Arkless

Article excerpt

Senior vice president for corporate affairs, Manpower

China's remarkable economic growth has not overshadowed its need for better management and efficiency. Now, a pilot project between employment services firm Manpower and Chinese labor authorities is aimed at improving training and placement for workers in Shanghai. David Arkless talks to Workforce Management staff writer Jonathan Pont about the problems that businesses and government officials in Shanghai intend to fix.

Workforce Management: How would you characterize the potential in this market from the perspective of a firm looking to set up operations in China?

David Arkless: Right now foreign companies invest a billion dollars a week into China. But if you look at its GDP, foreign investment is a tiny part of what's happening there. The Chinese economy, many say, will be the largest consumer economy in the world in 10 or 15 years. What companies say when they come to us, by far, is not about offshoring or to get lower labor costs. They want to be in the middle of the fastest-growing consumer economy in the world.

WM: How does this initiative differ from what the company has done in the past in China?

Arkless: We took the classic approach to enter China: Form a joint venture, then develop a wholly owned foreign entity. You start organic operations, hire locals, train them in your systems and open offices. Now, we're forecasting the need for talent in professional and vocational areas in six-month, 12-month and five-year periods by surveying over 100,000 of the municipality's investors, state-owned businesses, government, universities. …

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