Upcoming Events


Retaining Staff in China

15 March 2011

ACBC Boardroom, Level 1, 172 Bouverie St, Carlton 3053

Retaining staff in China: What “hukou” reform means for Foreign Invested Enterprises in China

• How are China’s trial urban residency reforms likely to impact upon Australian Companies?

• What will be the impact upon companies’ labour turnover and costs?

• What are desirable approaches to increase staff retention in China?

At the end of 2009, China had 229.87 million rural migrant workers living and working in Chinese cities. A previously inexhaustible pool of labour, they are a critical source of competitive advantage for Foreign Invested Enterprises (FIEs). Under Chinese law they are considered temporary residents. However trial reforms have begun that grant permanent urban residency status to these migrants.

These reforms will provide migrants with the same rights and wages enjoyed by permanent urban residents. This so-called “hukou reform” will have enormous implications for firms in the retention of migrant workers, by affording migrants unprecedented mobility and bargaining power. Russel and Ingrid will discuss how these reforms are impacting on labour turnover in FIEs in China.

Russel Smyth-Monash University

Russell Smyth is Professor of Economics and Head of the Department of Economics, Monash University. From 1998 to 2008 he was Editor of Economic Papers, the policy journal of the Economic Society of Australia and was a member of the Central Council of the Economic Society of Australia. In 2008 he received the Honorary Fellow Award of the Economic Society of Australia for services to the economic profession in Australia. He has researched the Chinese economy for the last fifteen years. His current research interests focus on the economic and social implications of internal migration in China.


Ingrid Nielsen-Monash University Ingrid Nielsen has a PhD in psychology and is Associate Professor and Director of Research in the Department of Management at Monash University. Ingrid works on labour migration in China, South-East Asia and Europe; chiefly on the wellbeing of migrant communities and migrant labour turnover. Ingrid has published widely on these topics in academic journals and she is co-editor with Russell Smyth on the volume Migration and Social Protection in China.