China White Collar Career Confidence Drops Sharply in Fall

The confidence of China’s white-collar workers in their career outlooks waned sharply, and that they were less likely to change jobs compared with this spring, according to Zhaopin Limited its fall research and survey in August 2017.

The survey gauges white-collar workers' confidence in their careers, their intentions to switch jobs and their sense of belonging to the cities where they live. More than 24,300 white collar workers participated in this nationwide survey.

The confidence of white-collar workers in their career development dropped significantly to 2.99, compared with 3.95 this spring. The confidence index is measured from 1 to 5, with 5 as the highest. In fall 2017, only 32% of white-collar workers were confident or very confident in their career opportunities, plummeting from 69.7% in the spring. Meanwhile, 34.5% of white-collars had low or no confidence in their careers in the fall, compared with only 8.6% in spring 2017.

Dongguan (3.27) enjoyed the highest confidence from white-collar workers in the fall of 2017, followed by Hangzhou (3.21), Suzhou (3.12) and Nanchang (3.10). Compared with the heavy pressures in first-tier cities, white-collars workers in emerging first-tier and some second-tier cities were more confident and enthusiastic in their careers.

In terms of work experience, the more experience, the more confident white-collar workers became. Those with over 10 years of experience had the highest confidence of 3.23, while those with less than one year of experience suffered the lowest confidence of 2.78.

A more cautious approach to switching jobs

With decreasing confidence, white-collar workers became more cautious in switching jobs in the fall. There were still more than 60% of white-collar workers taking actions to seek new jobs in the fall, but that was down from nearly 80% in the spring.

According to Zhaopin's survey, 13.7% of white-collar workers were in the process of quitting or onboarding in the fall, and 51% were looking for new opportunities with updated resumes. The other 31.7% of white collar workers indicated intentions to switch jobs without any action taken yet. Only 3.6% indicated that they would not consider job-hopping.

Guangzhou was the city with the highest percentage of job-hoppers (70.9%) in the fall 2017, followed by Wuhan (68.7%) and Shenzhen (68.6%).

The most important reason for job-hopping was salary/welfare, according to the survey, with 59.3% of white-collar workers considering a change in jobs because of unsatisfactory pay and welfare packages. Also, 44% wanted to quit their jobs due to the uncertain prospects of their companies. Promotion limits and imbalance of work and life were also key concerns for white collars to jump ship.

The fall survey found that 50.2% of white-collar workers would join start-up companies when they considered different job-hopping opportunities and 27.8% would not consider start-ups. Instability and high risk was the top reason that deterred white-collars from joining start-up companies.

Strong sense of belonging

Zhaopin's survey found that white-collar workers had a strong sense of belonging to the cities in which they live. The index for sense of belonging was 3.42 in the fall 2017. The belonging index is measured from 1 to 5, with 5 as the highest.

Chongqing (3.78) enjoyed the strongest sense of belonging from white-collar workers, followed by Changsha (3.74) and Shenyang (3.73). None of the four first-tier cities edged into the top 10 for sense of belonging because of their fast pace of living, high costs and competitive pressures.

The biggest contributor for sense of belonging was "good medical facilities" (57.6%) in their city, Zhaopin's survey found. Other key reasons included "parents, relatives and friends living in the same city" (48.5%), and "convenient living" (35.6%).

The top reason for lacking a sense of belonging was "still renting without own apartment" (52.8%), followed by "high living cost and pressure" (50.2%) and "lack of significant other" (33.6%), according to Zhaopin's survey.

Zhaopin's survey found that 37.4% of white-collar workers would move back to their hometowns when there's an opportunity, 23.2% already live in their hometowns and 25.1% would not go back to their hometowns.

The key reasons for willingness to return to hometowns were to be "close to parents" (78.2%), "enjoying life without much pressure" (31.1%) and "better environment" (29.7%).

"Used to current life and do not want to start all over again" (47.1%) was the top reason for not being willing to go back to one's hometown. "Don't want to give up current job" (40.2%) and "enjoy current convenient life" (37.9%) were also reasons that kept white-collar workers from going home.


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