Second quarter seeing an increase in hiring growth
Hiring demand is picking up in the second quarter in China despite more uncertainties being added to the country’s economy as the central government diverts to economic growth driven by the service industry.
About 19 percent of 4,279 surveyed Chinese companies said they would increase headcount in the second quarter of this year, slightly up from the 14 percent in the first three months, according to the quarterly employment outlook survey recently released by Manpower, a global workforce solution provider
The strongest hiring pace is forecast in Guangzhou with a Manpower net-employment outlook index of a positive 21 percent. Shenzhen employers anticipate a favorable hiring climate with the index reaching a positive 20 percent.
As global human-solutions company Hudson has found out, the hiring demand is picking up in the second quarter, combined with some cyclical changes. Automotive, medical and consumer-goods sectors have been showing as much demand as always, explained Cherol Cheuk, general manager of Hudson Shanghai.
“E-finance is another sector which promises great potential for future growth. Although the increase is not that significant for the time being, it is sure that the demand will be huge based on the current development pace of China’s e-commerce industry,” said Cheuk.
Cheuk’s confidence in the financial sector coincides with the latest findings in the quarterly report by Hays, a globalrecruitment specialist.
“We are already seeing healthy demand for professionals in China’s financial sector. Central Bank Governor Zhou Xiaochuan promises further liberalization of the sector in the years ahead and this bodes well for job creation,” said Simon Lance, regional director of Hays in China.
Lance expects tax experts will be increasingly in demand as the liberalization takes place.
“Tax policies often change and need to be interpreted by professionals. Most multinational companies have already hired tax specialists to communicate with the authorities in order to minimize tax risk and reduce unnecessary tax payments. There is currently a shortage of tax specialists and we see this continuing,” he said.
Besides, as stricter regulations are being imposed on internal audit and foreign banks, most banks will hire product auditors to enhance their business performance and minimize risk, Lance said.
“In the banking sector we are already seeing foreign banks starting to focus more on their transaction banking business while China moving towards a fully market-based system of interest rates,’’ he said. “We expect qualified transaction banking sales managers to be highly sought after as the banks can no longer earn large profits by only focusing on the interest rate differentials.”
With China setting up five private banks on a trial basis in Tianjin, Shanghai, Zhejiang province and Guangdong province, Lance said there will be more demand for talent in the private-banking sector in the near future.
While the job market in general has been regaining momentum in the past few months, lower-tier Chinese cities are showing more dynamics than first-tier cities, most human resources companies have found.
Sentiment toward changing jobs is greater among lower-tier cities’ candidates than those in first-tier cities. With opportunities seen in second- and third-tier cities, salary expectations are high for those looking to change jobs, with normal expectations being a 20- to 30-percent salary increase.
Those with sought-after skills such as bilingual and leadership plus solid experience have been able to receive up to 35 percent in salary increases.
As discovered by Nasdaqlisted Kelly Services, opportunities abound in the automotive industry in second- and third-tier Chinese cities as a number of automotive companies have already shifted their focus to those cities.
“There was significant hiring activity within the automotive industry with a particular demand for sales professionals in these cities. With cities such as Changsha, Wuhan, Chengdu, Hangzhou and Ningbo developing rapidly, demand for talent in factory management role grew higher,” said Leroy Yue, managing director of Kelly Services China.
Chengdu has performed exceptionally well among all polled lower-tier cities. It has shown high hiring levels particularly within fast-moving consumer goods, manufacturing and real estate.
This was a result of a shift in investment focus by a number of organizations, thus creating huge opportunities in the market. New stores opened rapidly and factories were set up, resulting in particular demand for technical professionals, store managers, sales assistants and R&D professionals, according to Kelly Services experts.
“Preferential economic policies and huge market potential offered by second- and thirdtier cities attracted many businesses to open shops or expand their presence which drove a buoyant talent market,” said Dong Lei, managing director of Lloyd Morgan Greater China.
In 2014, the demand for corporate-banking relationship managers is expected to increase but predominately for second-tier cities except Shanghai, Beijing and Shenzhen, where the volume is driven by replacements, according to Lloyd Morgan.
Although the pace of new store openings eased in the retail and luxury industry, there is still strong competition in second- and third-tier cities as well as new commercial centers in first-tier cities. As a result, the demand for store managers, deputy managers, supervisors and assistants remained strong. There was an obvious increase in positions that related to improving single-store performance, customer-relationship management and sales training.
“As both international and local franchised stores have set up shop in second- and thirdtier cities, competition among fast-moving consumer goods brands has shifted from main cities like Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen to smaller cities with enormous potential. There will be many opportunities especially for those that are well-educated and have grasped one or more foreign languages and have rich experience in the industry and channel development,” said Dong.
Job hunting is becoming increasingly difficult for university graduates in China, and it is also difficult for high-end employers to find the talent they’re after. Above, students pass the main gate of Fudan University in Shanghai.