As the issue of skills shortage becomes more prevalent, finding ways to engage existing talent and retain key staff has become the top priority for many organisations around the world. However, there is scant information on this topic in China especially for government owned organizations. The purpose of my research was thus to test a retention model developed within a western context and determines whether the model can be adapted to government-run construction enterprises in China. The research presents the results of a retention survey undertaken with 400 key management and professional technical staff from 200 government-run enterprises in China. Nine of 11 motivation factors were found to be positively correlated to retention. One factor, responsibility, was only partially correlated to retention and one factor, job security, presented no relationship at all with retention. The results also indicated that two of the nine positively correlated factors, fair treatment and the opportunity of learning and development, were imperative to retain both groups of key staff. Two factors, cash payment and challenging and interesting work, were considered important to employees with lower-level positions or more years of work experience. In contrast, benefit rewards and responsibility were more powerful to retain higher-level employees or less years of work experience. The thesis explores reasons for this apparent anomaly and makes recommendations with regard to carrying out suitable retention strategies in government-run construction enterprises in China
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