Funding the drive for Scientific Leadership

Artificial intelligence and quantum information are among the seven key areas China has identified as priorities for development as it seeks to become a global leader in the scientific field by 2035.

Integrated circuits, brain sciences, genetics and biotechnology, clinical medicine and health care, and deep Earth, sea, space and polar exploration were named as the other five sectors that will be given priority in terms of funding and resources, according to China is five-year plan for 2021-2025 and its vision through to 2035.

Government spending on basic research will increase 10.6 per cent this year and investment in research and development should grow at an annual rate of at least 7 per cent over the next five years.

This will enhance the capacity of enterprises to achieve technological innovation, unlock the creativity of talent, and improve the systems and mechanisms for making scientific and technological innovation.

Figures from the OECD show China has been closing the gap with Western nations on science and tech spending. In 2000, China’s funding for R&D was just 0.9 per cent of its GDP. But by 2018 the figure had grown to 2.1 per cent of GDP – or1.96 trillion yuan– putting the country 18th on a global list topped by Israel with 4.3 per cent.

Despite the increase, only about 5 per cent of China’s overall spending on R&D was on basic research, compared to 15 per cent in the United States in 2018. In 2019, China’s total R&D spend – by governments and companies – was 2.23 trillion yuan, or 2.2 per cent of GDP.  The figure rose to 2.4 per cent last year.

In the blueprint for 2021-25, China said it would set up national science centres in Beijing, Shanghai, Anhui and the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau Greater Bay Area. These would offer improved residency policies and explore skilled migration programmes to attract foreign talent and provide an ‘internationally competitive” environment for overseas scientists to work in China.

Institutes of Science and Development in Beijing said the 10 per cent rise in government spending on fundamental science this year would make it possible for scientists to study challenging topics without the pressure of having to deliver immediate results. It will also strengthen researchers’ confidence that their efforts will receive ongoing support from the government.

The five-year plan “sends a clear signal” about the government‘s intent. China may not have everything, but intends to play a leading role in some critical areas.

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Talent Acquisition and Technology

Despite companies reducing headcount talent acquisition is one of the biggest challenges organizations face. Organisations have had to move quickly in order to digitise to reduce headcount as well as reach out to customers. With technological innovations sweeping the market and more emphasis being placed on skill evaluation, talent assessment is no less than a marathon to grab high potential talent before competitors.

As the hiring process continues to evolve from newspaper ads to social recruiting, the next industry wave is automated recruitment. Organizations have started drifting away from manual hiring to technology driven processes.

To attract and retain top-quality talent in 2021 and beyond, building a strong employer brand should be a priority of every employer. With more organizations striving to create better workplaces and spend more to drive employee engagement, your brand must create a positive buzz in the market.

A positive employee brand can help you attract quality talent, retain them and close multiple requisitions on autopilot through referrals. Such is the power of employee branding.

How can technology make a difference here? State-of-the-art tools, applications and solutions can make a huge difference. Be it a smart career site, robust social media presence or a Candidate Relationship Management (CRM) system, technology can assist organizations in achieving a more refined branding strategy — and bringing in all the benefits that come with it.

When candidates have multiple jobs to choose from, you have to give them a good reason to join your organization, which should be different to a large salary increase. Providing a gratifying candidate experience can help to do the job.

The recruitment process can be broadly classified into three stages: SourcingScreening & Selection. Your job is to provide a seamless and hassle-free experience in each of these stages, so that the candidate thinks, “This organization has a nicely structured recruitment process. It must be a good place to work.” On the other hand, if there are roadblocks in any of these stages or if candidates get the impression that your recruitment process is haywire, they might look elsewhere.

Thanks to recruitment technology, there are plenty of options you can exercise to provide a great candidate experience.

Previously, organizations did not have any standard procedures for recruitment. They largely resorted to newspaper ads, walk-ins, unstructured face-to-face interviews or even pen-and-paper tests to fill vacancies. However, with time, they have realized that these methods came with drawbacks.

Traditional methods of recruitment were long and complex. They failed in assessing candidates’ soft skills or in understanding their weaknesses, since HR did not have any concrete data or framework to base their screening questions on. This ultimately increased candidate back-out and early attrition rates, leaving employers in a dilemma. Such an unstructured process has given rise to online assessments that now help in shortlisting candidates ideal for a job role, based on the skills they possess.

Data-backed results ultimately provide a boost to the employer brand value, improve candidate experience, enhance talent pool quality and help to carry out bulk, as well as niche, hiring in a seamless manner.

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