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Frank Mulligan

Frank Mulligan is the China Director for Accetis International, an international search practice headquartered in Paris. He is also the founder of Talent Software, which offered China’s first Applicant Tracking Systems in both English and Chinese, and started one of China’s earliest job boards, Recruit China. He has lived in China for over 13 years in both Beijing and Shanghai, Before starting Talent Software, Frank was the Chief Representative of Norman Broadbent Executive Search in China, 1st Secretary (Commercial) for the Irish Embassy in Beijing, and Strategic Planning Manager, Siemens, Ltd. China. Frank operates two blogs and hosts an online TV programme that covers HR issues in Asia, with a specific focus on China. Please visit Talent Software Blog and “ERE’s Talent in China” for additional information and expert specialization on all things related to China’s complex business, social and staffing infrastructures.

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China Lacks a Transition Generation

Frank Mulligan
Jun 30, 2010, 10:36 am ET

Total reliance on anything is generally to be avoided, but relying on something that shows signs of vanishing comes either from a misunderstanding of the present, or an ignorance of possible future scenarios.

Long-term reliance has a slow, grinding positive feedback loop that in time can become a dependency, and actually preclude the vision necessary to see other alternatives.

We know that the momentum of high-speed travel makes it hard to change direction, or even to see clearly where you are going. In the same fashion China’s high-growth economic trajectory, and low-cost labor model, may fit the bill for a blind-spot when it comes to the future. This is not the least of China’s many Black Swans, but it is a big game-changer.

The source of the reliance is the well over 100 million people who make up China’s production line workforce. Clearly, it is impossible for anyone to summarize the lives of these hard-working people, but the commonalities are there, and could be worth exploring. keep reading…

The Connector’s Departure

Frank Mulligan
Jan 20, 2009, 5:34 am ET

John Q. Gladwell’s departure from Do It Right! Extrusion (DIRE) didn’t seem like such a big issue at the time.

On the afternoon of the morning that John was let go, a Friday, most people were too busy anticipating the weekend fun to actually miss him. He managed the administration function for his division, and he wasn’t the most inspiring of people, so he was easily mistaken for an office plant.

Then, about two years ago, people discovered that for some strange reason John-in-admin knew this new “social networking” area very well. He had connections in the most obscure locations, and for a fleeting moment his star burned brightly.

If you needed to get at someone in the industry, or contact a potential hire in a competitor, John was the go-to guy. He was always happy to help, but as everyone in the company joined LinkedIn and Xing, his star gradually declined.

Management noted the time spent with social networking, and decided that it was not time well spent.

keep reading…

The Unprotected Quarterback

Frank Mulligan
Oct 30, 2008, 5:00 am ET

High performers are assumed to be a priority focus for retention efforts during any form of economic crisis.

The value they put on the table should ensure that they have an edge in keeping their jobs, but in actual practice things don’t work quite so well.

The Chosen Ones

The methods that are used to evaluate whether someone has high potential are many and varied, but they generally focus on two issues: capabilities and desire.

keep reading…

Productivity as a Substitute for Hiring in China

Frank Mulligan
Jun 18, 2008, 6:00 pm ET

Expansive hiring demand has largely been the name of the game over the last 10 years in China.

This is no longer the story, and it’s not just because the summer heat has kicked in. All the signs are that employers are cooling to the idea of hiring more staff. This is not a cause for immediate concern for third-party recruitment suppliers, or unrequited joy for HR departments, but there are signs of a general easing of skills demand.

The first source of comfort for HR departments is Hudson’s latest quarterly hiring report, which says professional hiring expectations in China have declined in the second quarter of 2008, after a prolonged and sustained rise.

The fact that Hudson even asked companies what HR policies they would implement in the event of a recession is a sign of the changes to come.

A serious hiring slowdown is unlikely at this stage, but the Hudson report found that 14% of respondents in China expected the country would face a recession in the next six months. This is fewer than in any other Asian country.

keep reading…