25 May 2017

Zhaopin shows shifts in entry-level job market in China

Zhaopin, a career platform in China focused on connecting users with relevant job opportunities throughout their career lifecycle, has discovered shifting trends in its 2017 career survey* of college graduates in China. The research has found that Chinese college graduates are facing a more challenging labour market and declining average monthly salary, a dismal combination for the record 7.95 million graduating students joining the labour force this year.

 2017 labour market for college graduates 
 Difficult and very challenging
 Difficult, but acceptable
 The market was OK
 Not difficult at all
 Not clear

The good news is that the overall labour is showing signs of strengthening in line with overall economy gaining momentum. This has been shown by the CIER index compiled by Zhaopin and China Institute for Employment Research (CIER) at Renmin University, which tracks the ratio of job vacancies to job seekers in a variety of industries and cities across the country, rose to 1.91 in Q117, compared to 1.71 in Q116. The rising index is an indication the labour market had improved with the economy.

However, the labour market is strengthening unevenly. The record size of this year's graduating class is posing unique challenges for graduates. With such a large graduating class this year, new job seekers still face a daunting challenge, especially those from less well-known universities outside the top tier.

In trying to secure a job, 41.3% of graduates submitted 11 to 30 resumes this year, and 11.7% even sent more than 51 resumes to potential employers. It was also more difficult to get interview opportunities this year. Zhaopin found that 31.9% of college graduates landed one to three interviews, and 27.1% had four to five interviews. About 8.3% of graduates did not get any interviews this year, up from 3% last year.

By the end of April this year, 27.7% of college graduates had not received a job offer, higher than the 24.8% seen last year. Meanwhile, just over half of the graduates (50.2%) had received one to three job offers, lower than the 55.4% last year. For graduates who had job offers but declined to sign contracts, the top reasons were "salary/welfare did not meet expectation" (35.5%), "did not like position/work" (32.4%), and "not satisfied with work  location" (27.7%). To help address some of these challenges, Zhaopin has developed the National Employability Test to both help graduates and employers identify suitable talents.

 Job offers for college graduates 
 No offer
 One offer
 Two offers
 Three offers
 Four offers
 Five offers
 Six offers
 Seven or more offers

Highlights of Zhaopin's research:
  • About 40.8% of graduates believe the labour market has been "very challenging" this year, up from 36.5% last year. A further 47% of graduates thought the job market was acceptable, even though difficult.
  • A quarter of college graduates (26.7%) signed employment contracts this year, down from 35.4% last year.
  • The average monthly salary for college graduates declined by 16% this year to RMB4,014.
  • The average monthly salary for male graduates was RMB4,374, higher than RMB3,624 for female graduates.
  • The IT/telecom/electronics/Internet sector offered the highest monthly salary of RMB4,867, followed by RMB4,692 in the financial sector and RMB4,457 for the traffic/transportation/logistics/warehousing sector.
  • For the first time since Zhaopin started the survey in 2014, "opportunities to learn and grow" overtook "good salary and welfare" as the most important factor for college graduates in assessing jobs.

 Reasons for not accepting job offers
 Salary/welfare did not meet expectation
 Did not like position/work
 Not satisfied with work location
 Waiting for better offers
 Poor outlook for career development
 Work environment did not meet expectation
 Poor industry outlook
 Choosing among multiple offers
 Company reputation did not meet expectation 
 Ready to sign contract 
 Startup company with high risk

Both the expected and actual monthly salary for college graduates declined this year, Zhaopin survey found. The average expected monthly salary was RMB4,875 this year, a drop of RMB110 from last year. The average actual monthly salary for college graduates declined by RMB751 to reach RMB4,014 this year.

 Average monthly salary for college graduates 

 Expected (RMB)
 Actual (RMB)

The average actual monthly salary for male graduates was RMB4,374, higher than RMB3,624 for female graduates. The IT/telecom/electronics/internet sector offered the highest monthly salary of RMB4,867, followed by RMB4,692 from the financial sector and RMB4,457 from the traffic/transportation/logistics/warehousing sector.

 Sectors with highest average monthly salaries for  
 college graduates (RMB)

Among graduates who already signed employment contracts, 33.5% choose to work in first-tier cities and 33.1% would go to emerging first-tier cities. Emerging first-tier cities were actually more attractive to college graduates as 37.5% of them wanted jobs there.

 Cities selected by college graduates
 First-tier cities
 Emerging first-tier cities 
 Second-tier cities
 Third-tier cities and  below 

The IT/telecom/electronics/Internet sector was the most attractive sector with 19.4% of college graduates preferred to work in this field. One in five (20.3%) found related jobs.

 Sectors selected by Chinese college graduates

 Professional service (consulting/finance and accounting/legal, advertising/PR,  authentication/outsourcing)

 Real estate/construction
 Services (healthcare/nursing, beauty, hotel/restaurant, travel/vacation)

 Trade/wholesale/retail/leasing, FMCG/durable consumer goods
 Education/arts and crafts
 Government/non-profit organisation
 Energy/mineral/environmental protection
 Farming/forestry/animal husbandry/fishery

Students planning to go on to further education in China dropped to 6.3% this year, from 16.5% last year. Students planning for further education overseas also declined to 3.4% this year, from 4.8% last year. Nearly 10% of graduates said they do not intend to work immediately after graduation. They would like to take some time off to travel, volunteer, or spend time with parents.

 Intentions after graduation
 Looking for a job
 Further education in China
 Further education overseas 
 Start own business
 Take some time off

About 55.9% of graduates preferred jobs with "opportunities to learn and grow", while 52.2% chose "good salary and welfare". It was the first time since Zhaopin started the survey in 2014 that "opportunities to learn and grow" has overtaken "good salary and welfare" as the most important factor for assessing a job.

 Job aspirations for Chinese college graduates 
 Opportunities to learn and grow
 Good salary and welfare
 Growth potential of industry/company
 Harmonious company environment
 Fit with personal interests
 Room to perform with abilities
 Suitable position
 Clear career development path
 Balance of work and life
 Freedom in workstyle

College graduates also said they would work overtime when necessary to complete urgent projects, finish their own work, or improve their skills. About 40.3% of graduates would accept two to five hours of overtime a week, and 23.1% could work overtime five to eight hours a week.

 Acceptable amount of overtime for Chinese college  graduates 
 Under two hours a week
 Two to five hours a week
 Five to eight hours a week
 Eight to 10 hours a week
 No overtime

Zhaopin has over 135 million registered users** at various stages of their careers. In the fiscal year ended June 30, 2016, approximately 36.9 million job postings*** were placed on Zhaopin's platform by 509,813 unique customers.

*Zhaopin's survey analyses the employability of college graduates based on their perceptions of the labour market, job-hunting efforts and results. About 93,420 college graduates participated in the survey this year, including junior college graduates, undergraduates and graduate students.

**A "unique customer" refers to a customer that purchases the company's online recruitment services during a specified period. Zhaopin makes adjustments for multiple purchases by the same customer to avoid double-counting. Each customer is assigned a unique identification number in the company's information management system. Affiliates and branches of a given customer may, under certain circumstances, be counted as separate unique customers.

***Zhaopin calculates the number of job postings by counting the number of newly placed job postings during each respective period. Job postings that were placed prior to a specified period - even if available during such period - are not counted as job postings for such period. Any particular job posting placed on the company's website may include more than one job opening or position.