Competition for White-Collar Workers Intensifies in China

Competition for white-collar workers in the fourth quarter of 2016 reversed the declining trend seen in each of the previous three quarters, and posted the first rise for 2016, during what is normally a slow season for recruitment.

Based on online job postings in 34 key cities compiled by Zhaopin, the average monthly salary in the fourth quarter of 2016 was RMB7,606, up slightly from RMB7,531 in the third quarter of 2016. The average salary has been on the rise since the beginning of this year, but the rate of increase slowed during the fourth quarter.

Among job postings in the fourth quarter of 2016, 31.8% of positions offered monthly salaries of between RMB4,001 to 6,000, and 28.1% offered monthly salaries of more than RMB8,000. Only 19.2% of positions offered monthly salaries below RMB4,000.

Beijing continued to be the city with the highest pay in the fourth quarter of 2016, with an average monthly salary of RMB9,835, followed by RMB9,720 in Shanghai, RMB8,640 in Shenzhen and RMB7,853 in Guangzhou.

The best-paying sector in the fourth quarter of 2016 continued to be professional services/consulting (finance and accounting, legal and HR, etc.) with an average monthly salary of RMB10,599, followed by RMB9,333 for funds/securities/futures/investment and RMB9,117 for cross-industry operation.

The top three occupations with the highest monthly salaries in the fourth quarter of 2016 were senior management (RMB18,940), IT management/project coordination (RMB14,554) and sales management (RMB10,726).

Except for public and state-owned companies, the average salaries in other types of companies went up slightly in the fourth quarter of 2016. Joint ventures offered the highest average monthly salary of RMB8,340, compared with RMB7,887 for wholly foreign-owned enterprises and RMB7,646 for private companies. The average monthly salary of public institutions was the lowest at RMB7,308.

Beijing is most competitive city for white-collar workers

Beijing was by far the most competitive city for white-collar workers, with a competitive index of 93.5 in the fourth quarter of 2016, almost double the index for Chengdu (50.0), the second most competitive city. While job applications were declining in most cities in the fourth quarter of 2016, the number of job seekers was still increasing in Beijing, pushing up the competition significantly in the fourth quarter of 2016.

Among the top ten cities with highest job demand in the fourth quarter of 2016, Hangzhou was the only city with job demand increasing compared with the third quarter of 2016.

Among the top ten cities with most job applications in the fourth quarter of 2016, only three cities (Beijing, Xi'an and Hangzhou) experienced growth in job applications compared with the third quarter of 2016.

In terms of employer size, companies with 1,000 to 9,999 employees were the most competitive for job seekers, with an index of 45.8, followed by 44.6 for companies with 100 to 499 employees. The competition for positions in small and micro-sized companies was relatively low due to low brand recognition.

Supply and demand by sector

In the fourth quarter of 2016, the fast-growing internet/e-commerce sector was still highest with the most job vacancies, followed by funds/securities/futures/investment, and real estate/construction/building materials/engineering. As a traditional slow season for recruitment, the job demand declined in all sectors.

The most competitive sector for job seekers in the fourth quarter of 2016 was online games, with 70.0 applications per vacancy, followed by 56.4 for real estate/construction/building materials/engineering, and 56.0 for IT services (system/data/maintenance). Among the top ten sectors, online games was the only sector with competitive index slipping compared with the third quarter of 2016, while the competition in other nine sectors all heated up in the fourth quarter of 2016.

Insurance continued to be the least competitive sector in the fourth quarter of 2016, with 15.2 applications per vacancy, followed by 20.6 for intermediary service and 24.6 for banking and printing/packaging/papermaking.

The sectors with the most job applications in the fourth quarter of 2016 included internet/e-commerce, computer software and real estate/construction/building materials/engineering. Compared with the third quarter of 2016, computer software, IT services (system/data/maintenance), and professional service/consulting (finance and accounting, legal and HR, etc.) were the only sectors among the top ten sectors with job applications increasing in the fourth quarter of 2016.

The top occupations with the most vacancies for white collar workers in the fourth quarter of 2016 were almost the same as the third quarter of 2016, including sales, administration/logistics/secretary, and software/internet development/system integration.

The most competitive occupation in the fourth quarter of 2016 was software/internet development/system integration with 145.1 applications per vacancy, followed by 87.1 for finance/auditing/tax, and 78.0 for IT quality management/testing/configuration management.

The least competitive occupations in the fourth quarter of 2016 were healthcare/beauty/hairdressing/bodybuilding with 8.8 applications per vacancy, followed by 11.2 for community/residency/housekeeping, and 11.6 for insurance.

The top ten occupations with the most job applications in the fourth quarter of 2016 were the same as in the third quarter of 2016. Software/internet development/system integration, finance/auditing/tax, and purchasing/trade were occupations with more job applications in the fourth quarter than the third quarter of 2016.

 

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