Employee retention in Chinese state-owned enterprises
China’s social and economic development has facilitated the appearance of the knowledge economy since the market-based economic reforms and open-door policy in the 1970s. Subsequently many changes have taken place in the human resource management (HRM) field due to the rapid development of Chinese society and economy. China’s state-owned enterprises (SOEs) are increasingly concerned about employee retention because of skill shortages and key staff turnover. The SOEs play a vital role in China’s economic development as they continue to be dominant in the Chinese economy. As China’s SOEs are rapidly becoming key players in the global market, it is crucial to understand the change from ‘iron rice bowl’ system to employment contract system, and how China’s SOEs have managed their employees and what challenges they are now facing. Specifically, this dissertation will explore the development of SOEs and HRM practices in China in general and analyze the changes of employee retention practices in China’s state-owned petroleum companies in particular. This is based on a literature review in order to provide an overview of HRM in China, especially in the field of employee retention in SOEs. A case study of China’s state-owned petroleum companies is included in this dissertation for illustrating the status of employee retention in China. This dissertation adds value to scholarship on HRM in China by providing a detailed analysis of employee retention in China’s SOEs, which may help Chinese firms gain a better understanding of employee retention to further develop and improve their HRM practices.