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Economy

From Campus Recruits To Migrant Workers, A Snapshot Of China’s Labor Market

Compared to the West, China's labor market is still remarkably favorable to workers, as overall demand of qualified employees still outstrips supply. Still, emerging soft spots in the manufacturing and construction sectors could be the first sign

Study up! Job prospects are rosy for Chinese university graduates (mklapper)
Study up! Job prospects are rosy for Chinese university graduates (mklapper)

NEWSBITES

BEIJING - The job-hopping season comes both before and after the Chinese New Year. For human resources staffs of many enterprises in China, the coming month could create a particularly nasty headache.

A majority of the university graduating class of 2012 have already gotten a job offer in the past few months, particularly those who majored in sciences and engineering.

Meanwhile, since demand for talent is greater than the supply, a lot of students will not hesitate to ditch the contracts they've signed if they find a better offer. The breach of contract rate is over 20%.

That means, if a company started recruiting graduates before the New Year, it might need to open a second recruitment round after the New Year. But late recruiting means a firm may only find the leftovers; hiring those that others passed over.

Campus recruiting, as a consequence, also affects the general employment market. Increasingly in 2011, employees began demanding (and obtaining) higher salaries by threatening to leave a company. In the current situation, this tendency will be reinforced.

According to a prediction from baijob.com, the recruitment website run by Baidu, China's largest search engine, the supply and demand in the employment market is essentially balanced for the coming year.

Meanwhile, although the overall job market looks excellent, it also reveals certain worries in some sectors. Some industries that were still booming for the first half of 2011 were obliged to cut down their workforce massively in the second half of the year because of the global recession.

For instance, the manufacturing sector, the new energy sectors such as wind power and solar panels, e-commerce, and real estate. Even Media, one of the largest Chinese household appliances group, has had to lay off many of the 3,000 students they had recruited fresh from campus a few months earlier.

But beyond those with university degrees, the manual labor market is where things start looking much colder for workers. With the slump in the housing sector and the postponing of the production line startup dates at small and medium-size factories, the labor shortage has evaporated. Many migrant workers even went back home long before the New Year.

This is unprecedented. The job recruiting fairs in Dongguan, Guangdong Province, which faced a serious shortage of workers in recent years, were much thinner this year.

Still, across the entire economy, demand for workers is still bigger than supply.

Economic prosperity is positively related to the employment rate. What is intriguing in China's 2012 economy is that some sectors are red hot and others look headed for a prolonged winter freeze.

Read the original article in full in Chinese by Tang Mengjuan

Photo - mklapper

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