Monday, February 20, 2023

Employers are frugal and applicants are hesitant at job fairs in China

At job fairs in China, employers are thrifty and applicants timid


BEIJING: After being forced online for three years by Covid-19, China's job fairs are back, but wages are low and there are fewer opportunities in industries that are exposed to weakening external demand, pointing to an uneven and cautious economic recovery.

The latest indication that China is returning to its pre-Covid way of life and that youth unemployment, a major headache for Beijing, may ease from its near 20% peak is the announcement by authorities of hundreds of such events across the country this month.

Job fairs are one of the most effective ways for workers and employers to connect in a nation of 1.4 billion people. Even though people said that their long-awaited return is encouraging, not everyone was confident.

Liu Liangliang, 24, who was looking for a job in a hotel or property management company at a fair in Beijing on Thursday, one of more than 40 held in the capital in February, stated, "I only pray for a stable job, and do not have high salary expectations." Many people have been harmed by the Covid outbreak. This year, there will be more job seekers competing for offers."

There is a lot of anxiety about work.

One of China's largest recruiting agencies, Zhaopin, conducted a survey of approximately 50,000 white-collar workers on Thursday and found that 47.3% of respondents were concerned about losing their jobs this year, up from 39.8% a year ago.

Up from 48.4% in 2022, about 60% cited the "uncertain economic environment" as the primary factor affecting their confidence.

According to the survey, job confidence was higher in consumer-facing sectors, which are recovering faster from a low base, than in manufacturing, which is impacted by weakening external demand, or property, which has only just begun to show tentative signs of stabilization.

The Beijing Xiahang Jianianhua Hotel's human resources manager, who only used his first name Zhang, stated that as Chinese travelers resumed, his company had three times as many open positions as it did last year.

In contrast, Jin Chaofeng, whose business exports outdoor rattan furniture, stated that he does not intend to increase his staff because international orders are declining.

He added, "People in my industry are waiting and seeing, prudently," and that he plans to reduce production by 20 to 30 percent in March compared to the previous year.

HSBC's chief Asia economist, Frederic Neumann, believes that overall employment in China should rise despite the fact that the service and manufacturing sectors are expected to operate at very different rates this year.

"Now is the time for restaurants, hotels, and entertainment venues to hire staff. Neumann stated, "This is especially helpful for younger workers." In the coming months, the youth unemployment rate ought to begin to decrease."

One of China's weakest economic growth rates in nearly 50 years was 3% in 2013. Policymakers are supposed to hold back nothing around 5%, which would in any case be underneath the rankling pre-pandemic speed.

This is in part due to the fact that strict Covid rules continue to cause pain.

Wei, a former cleaner seeking a similar position, stated that she and her unemployed husband are struggling with credit card debt at another capital city job fair.

Wei, who did not want to reveal her full name for reasons of privacy, left her previous job last year after her employer wanted to reduce her pay from 3,500 yuan to 3,200 yuan ($465.34) per month despite requiring her to work late hours for COVID-related disinfection.

She stated, "We owe the banks hundreds of thousands of yuan." We are extremely concerned." $1 equals 6.8767 Chinese yuan.

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