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Hiring index signals further job weakness

(China Daily)

09:51, June 28, 2013

A new graduate asks about employment opportunities at a job fair in Jiujiang, Jiangxi province, on Monday. A Hudson survey of 816 employers found that 13.2 percent will cut staff in the next three months, 6.2 percentage points more than in the second quarter. ZHANG HAIYAN / FOR CHINA DAILY

An index measuring employers' hiring intentions for the third quarter on the Chinese mainland will drop to 51.5, the lowest since the beginning of 2010, according to the latest Hudson Report released in Shanghai on Thursday.

Hiring intentions have been declining all year.

Among all the 816 Chinese employers interviewed by the global talent solutions company, 13.2 percent said they would decrease headcount in the next three months, 6.2 percentage points more than in the second quarter.

"The government's support of quality growth has resulted in a slightly slower rate of growth and many organizations are focusing on achieving internal efficiency and productivity gains in the first instance, rather than adding headcount," said Bi Lin, joint general manager of Hudson Shanghai.

Bi added that compared with the index's lowest point of 33 when the global financial crisis broke out in 2009, the relatively lower hiring demand at present is still within a "healthy and controllable boundary".

"The employment growth rate has been very limited ever since 2008. But on the other hand, the unemployment rate has been going up, especially when a large number of export-oriented companies are shutting and laying off people.

"In addition, gloomy overseas job markets have forced some Chinese people to come back. All of these [developments] have made competition in the Chinese job market even more intense," said Li Rong, editor-at-large at Bloomberg Businessweek, at the 2013 China Human Resources Conference held in Shanghai last Thursday.

However, highly qualified and specialized workers, especially those engaged in research and development, chemicals, healthcare, scientific and laboratory roles and digital marketing and e-commerce, are highly sought after, the Hudson Report said.

Su Yong, director of the business administration department at the School of Management at Fudan University in Shanghai, agreed that the era when China had advantages from cheap labor is over. "Employees with higher qualifications and specific skills are more needed."

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