Shenzhen, Guangzhou lead mainland China’s hiring market, says recruitment agency

PUBLISHED : Monday, 21 August, 2017, 3:46pm
UPDATED : Monday, 21 August, 2017, 10:44pm

Hiring momentum in China’s southern cities is now leading the nation amid the region’s entrepreneurial atmosphere with both big companies and technology start-ups more willing to take on new talent, according to a study by global recruiting agency ManpowerGroup.

According to a recent quarterly employment outlook survey released by the agency, 8 per cent more employers in Guangzhou and 6 per cent more in Shenzhen said they would be hiring people in the current quarter from July to September.

The results compare with the 4 per cent and 3 per cent employment outlook figures for Beijing and Shanghai respectively, and the overall 5 per cent for mainland China.

ManpowerGroup said the findings were based on interviews with over 4,000 employers in the country.

The employment outlook in southern Chinese cities, including Shenzhen and Guangzhou, is the best in the country thanks to its dynamic entrepreneurial environment of technology companies and activities, said Jonas Prising, chairman and chief executive of ManpowerGroup.

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Unlike Beijing and Shanghai, two mega cities where infrastructure and entrepreneurship are more mature and stable, getting a foothold in smaller cities like Shenzhen could be easier for new businesses which means more opportunities for job seekers, Prising told the South China Morning Post.

As of the end of 2016 the number of national high-tech enterprises in Shenzhen had reached 8,037, up from 3,791 a year earlier, putting the city in fourth place after Guangdong province, Beijing and Jiangsu province, and higher than the 6,938 figure for Shanghai.

The rise of Chinese technology companies has also changed the mindset of job seekers. Many who preferred to work for foreign companies in the past have turned their sights back to domestic firms.

Unlike 10 years ago when the majority of ManpowerGroup’s clients in China were foreign companies, Prising said 80 to 90 per cent are now local because mainland Chinese firms have become globally successful and are more attractive to potential employees.

Many Chinese brands, especially technology companies, have become very strong brands, or even leading global companies
Jonas Prising, ManpowerGroup

“Many Chinese brands, especially technology companies, have become very strong brands, or even leading global companies. The preferences of our candidates have also changed as they feel confident that these Chinese companies will become successful in the medium to long term,” Prising said, adding that the Chinese companies that impressed him the most included Huawei, Alibaba, Tencent and Lenovo.

Although technology companies are now offering more job opportunities in China, wider deployment of automation will inevitably transform the manufacturing industry, meaning the workforce will have to keep increasing its skills to meet the needs of Chinese manufacturers, according to Prising.

“Your ability to be successful as an individual means you need different kind of skill sets. Fortunately, while education levels are stable or even going down in many other countries, the education level in China is still increasing. It means China is well on the way to prepare itself to offer a more skilled workforce, which will eventually give it a competitive advantage,” he said.