Issue No 9: November 2004
Budget cuts but proposal quality rises
Q&A: Monitoring and assessment rules: Update
Web system closes gap between clients and suppliers
Algorithm to help Hong Kong keep competitive edge
Project integrates supplier networks
Cooperative conflicts ‘strengthen decision-making’
Pay-back from staff investment
Human capital needs change as economy opens
Artificial Intelligence helps rostering

The effect of education and training on employees in three regions of China in contrasting stages of economic develop-ment have been mapped by researchers at The Chinese University of Hong Kong.
Principal Investigator Dr Jin Xiao and colleagues in collaboration with the State Centre of Research on Education Development, surveyed more than 30,000 employees in the fast-growing eastern regions of Jiangsu and Guangdong (see areas in map), the less prosperous central regions of Hubei and Hebei ( ); and the comparatively underdeveloped western regions of Yunnan and Shanxi ( ).
“The transition from a planned to a market economy in the western provinces lags behind Jiangsu and Guangdong by about 15 to 20 years,” said Dr Xiao, “and it shows in our research findings.”
Among results, she found that on-job training provided by companies in the more prosperous areas was significantly higher than in the poorer regions. She said: “Companies won autonomy under market economy reforms but they also discovered a lot of pressure; they had to reform their management ideas to survive.
“Under the planned economy, orders went from government to factories which produced products and gave them back to the government. Now companies need employees to promote their products and secure orders, so employees need new sets of skills.”
To be profitable, companies also need to embrace new techniques like computer-aided design and manufacturing. This means some old jobs have been replaced by jobs requiring new skills, said Dr Xiao.
“The level of on-job training reflects these new pressures,” she added. Economic reforms came to Hubei and Hebei about nine years after Guangdong but evidence that the gap is closing comes with the amount of formal education received by workers prior to employment. In both regions, the number of workers starting with a junior college education is now about the same at 13 per cent.
Individuals can change job and location under the market economy, said Dr Xiao, so they make good use of self-financed adult education as a way to get on. She found that once a person is in a job, on-job training and self-financed adult education have a much greater impact on salary growth than does formal education.

Principal Investigator
Dr Jin Xiao :