There are measurable signs of improvement for the job market in China, according to a recent survey of companies.
The human resources firm Mercer polled 366 Chinese and multinational companies operating in the country representing nine industries, including high-tech, automotive and real estate sectors.
Although 17 percent of the companies reported downsizing their payrolls in the second quarter, that figure is 5 percent lower than in the previous quarter.
Energy and high-tech industries accounted for the highest layoff rates, while none of the pharmaceutical and medical device businesses reported layoffs.
The Mercer China survey also reported that more companies plan to recruit new employees in the third quarter compared to the previous one.
Slightly more than half (56 percent) of the companies reported plans to hire employees in the second quarter, and 63 percent reported they would hire new employees in the third quarter.
The highest level of new employee recruitment was in the high-tech industry, where most of the new openings were in sales/marketing, production/manufacturing and engineering/technical fields.
"We found that more recruitment was conducted in the second-tier cities than in the first-tier ones," said Lily Zhang, business leader of Mercer China's information and production solution department.
"The second-tier cities have much stronger demand for talents," Zhang said.
According to the survey findings, only 12 percent of the companies will conduct campus recruiting in the third quarter.
Internet and high-tech industries have a relatively large demand for university students.
By location, companies in Beijing (17 percent) and Shanghai (15 percent) are more likely to carry out campus recruiting, suggesting that Beijing and Shanghai will continue to be top choices for university graduates hunting for jobs.
Although China has a large number of job seekers, the companies report that there still is a sharp shortage of high-skilled recruits.
About 72 percent of companies surveyed said they think the greatest challenge they face is difficulty recruiting needed white-collar talent in the labor market.
Some added that it is hard to find highly skilled blue-collar workers, too.
In addition, 34 percent of companies are demanding more efficient human resources departments.
The third-largest challenge companies face is that highly skilled workers demand higher salary packages, said Tommy Li, a senior manager at Mercer China's information and product solution department.
"Some companies complained that some candidates demanded a high salary package that was more than the company's highest capacity," Li said.
In response to the new medical system reform plan announced in April, 71 percent of the companies will not consider revising their employee medical benefits policies, the report showed.