Tencent promotes younger talent to keep up with users

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Chinese tech giant Tencent announced a series of major changes to its existing employee ranking system in an effort to promote younger workers as it courts younger users.

In an internal letter made public on Monday, the company replaced its previous structure which grouped employees into six main categories and 18 sub-categories according to their professional expertise by a system consisting of 14 levels, according to a Chinese media report.

Tencent’s new move helps rationalize its goal of facilitating the promotion of younger junior staff to senior positions and trimming the mid-level management team.

The company celebrated its 20th-anniversary last year. Facing slowing business growth, the company has launched a series of efforts to maintain internal momentum. Following a major structural adjustment in September, it launched a young talent plan, pledging that at least one in five promotions each year goes to younger talent. It is also trimming around 10% of the mid-level managers, putting them on notice for job cuts or demotion.

For tech research and development talent, for example, an employee would have fallen into one of the 18 sub-categories as assistant engineer, engineer, senior engineer, expert engineer, senior expert engineer, or authority expert under the previous system. With the new structure, such employees will all have the engineer title and skill level is distinguished by ranking, which ranges from Level 4 to 17.

Junior staff  that had been Level 4 or lower in the previous system have less stringent requirements for promotion under the new system. Tencent eliminated compulsory interviews and lowered performance requirements.

Tencent declined to comment on the changes when reached by TechNode.

Chinese tech giants are pushing management transitions to younger generations to make sure they are keeping pace with young consumers. Tencent’s adjustment comes as partner  JD.com and competitor Alibaba have adopted similar initiatives in revamping their managerial structures. Xiaomi is also putting younger executives in leadership positions.