By Xinhua Writers Meng Na, Ren Qinqin and Ji Ming
SHANGHAI, Dec. 4 (Xinhua) -- A delegation of human resources staff from more than 20 financial organizations here will depart this weekend for the United Kingdom and United States to recruit high-level finance staff.
The delegation, the first of its kind since the world financial crisis began, will hold three job fairs: Dec. 6 in London, Dec. 9 in Chicago and Dec. 13 in New York, where it will try to fill more than 170 openings at banks, funds and securities firms.
A similar delegation from Nanjing, in east China's Jiangsu Province, has also gone abroad to fill more than 20 vacancies involving investment, financial product design and financial analysis.
Financial organizations in Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province and Shenzhen, Guangdong Province plan similar recruiting drives.
Mao Dali, deputy director of the human resources and social security bureau of Shanghai, told Xinhua: "To recruit high-end financial officials from Western countries is a step intended to meet the demand of building Shanghai up further as an international financial center. Our overseas hiring plan was formed after several months of discussion and consideration."
Shanghai, China's finance hub, has more than 180,000 financial staff, or 1 percent of the population. Local financial organizations are severely short of medium- or high-level financial staff who speak fluent English, have financial and legal knowledge and are familiar with international financial services.
The lack of such staff has hampered the development of Shanghai as an international financial center, experts said.
Yet when many major foreign financial organizations having problems, China's academic and financial circles are in heated discussion as to whether Chinese financial organizations should recruit overseas financial staff on a large scale.
Proponents have said that with Western financial workers being laid off or seeing their incomes shrink, now is a good time to recruit them to work in China.
Opponents of the idea claim that such imported staff might not quite understand China's conditions and financial environment, and therefore cannot fully play their roles. Some fear that a large-scale influx of Western financial staff could intensify domestic financial risks.
Lu Hongjun, dean of the Shanghai Institute of International Finance, said overseas recruiting drives showed that China's financial industry consistently took an open attitude. Suspicions that China might take protectionist measures amid the financial crisis could also be dispelled with such recruiting efforts, he said.
Lu said a cautious, practical attitude should be taken when recruiting Western financial staff.
"Considering the financial environments in China and Western countries are quite different, domestic financial organizations must determine in advance what kinds of financial staff are most suitable, and they should be hired first, to guarantee that they can make substantial contributions to China's financial organizations," Lu said.