Guangdong authorities have issued an open invitation for applications to fill 100 senior and mid-level cadre positions in seven Pearl River Delta cities after the Beijing Olympics, mainland media have reported.
The vacancies come amid tougher economic prospects and the provincial Communist Party chief's push for 'thought liberation'.
The openings included deputy mayorships for Dongguan, Zhuhai, Foshan, Zhongshan and Jiangmen, along with 27 deputy district or town head posts in the five cities and in Guangzhou and Shenzhen, the organisation department of the Guangdong party committee said yesterday.
Provincial economic growth slowed in the first half of this year as export demand softened and credit curbs kicked in. The manufacturing hub has also had to fend off competition from other cities in the Yangtze River Delta and the Bohai Gulf.
The jobs are also in line with President Hu Jintao's vows yesterday in Beijing to implement 'comprehensive' political and economic reforms after the Games to maintain steady, rapid growth while containing price pressures.
The talent recruitment scheme is part of Guangdong's 'thought liberation' process - a phrase coined by Guangdong party chief Wang Yang to encourage cadres to think more broadly, the Nanfang Daily reported.
A report said 100 other Guangdong cadres would be sent to support rural development within the province or to Beijing for further on-the-job training.
'The scheme ... aims to select and train youthful backup cadres who can lead Guangdong towards scientific development and enable it to compete internationally,' it said.
Most of the 100 positions were lucrative appointments in finance and trade, at universities, and at state-owned investment or infrastructure companies.
A spokesman from the Guangdong party committee said about 600 candidates would be interviewed after written tests in Guangzhou and Beijing early next month.
One-third of the 600 would be short-listed for further tests of their leadership abilities.
The list of the final 100 would be made public and those appointed would be put on probation for one year.
The spokesman said the candidates did not have to be Communist Party members, but successful applicants would have to pass a foreign language test in English, French, Japanese or Russian.
All candidates were required to have bachelor's degrees and be aged under 40 for provincial positions and 35 to 38 for city-level positions.
The last time Guangdong launched a similar recruitment scheme was in 2003 amid the Sars outbreak. The call for candidates drew more than 14,300 applicants even though the field was restricted to provincial residents.