Many in China believe that the their economy is being held back by a lack of high quality management material.
According to Chinadaily , there are state and privately owned companies across the country, including foreign multinationals, that are desperate to fund more quality managers.
This is despite a drive since the 1980s to educate a new tranche of managers when the first MBA courses were offered by the State University of Buffalo, New York based in Dalian in Liaoning province. Since then ten course have been established by the Chinese Ministry of Education and some, like CEIBS Shanghai are ranked amongst the top in the world. This makes the perceived need to travel abroad to get such training old fashioned thinking.
Lirtou.co, a specialist management recruiting website recently had 30,000 management vacancies on its books.
The mechanics of supply and demand have also kicked in with the shortage also having the effect of pushing management salaries up. But only in the top tiers, the muddle managers do not seem to be so well rewarded.
Lucy Qiao, the general manager of Beijing based Qeewoo executive search, which boasts clients like Intel, Bayer and Alstom, said "The demand is huge, very very big, indeed. China simply can't supply enough managers. One of the main problems we have when working for foreign companies is in finding managers with technical backgrounds who speak good English. People don't tend to have both."
One of the things holding good managers and good management practice back may be culturally based. As professor Mike Bastin of the China Agriculture University and the Tsunghau University says "Chinese companies are almost exclusively male dominated with the power very much at the top. You advance in a company through your connections or guanxi and not through any concept of meritocracy. It is difficult for good managers to demonstrate their worth." He goes on "One step inside a typical Chinese company is usually enough in order to gain some insight into the organization's culture. For example, desks of employees are usually divided from each other almost forbidding any discussion among colleagues throughout the working day. Meeting rooms are a rarity within Chinese firms, too".
Well, management gap or not they seem to be doing well in China at the moment. Maybe it's the West that needs fewer managers.
But with the Chinese desperate to learn English and management, surely there is a vast opening for an entrepreneurial business and management school to open up a college in China?