China’s Labour Market Maintains its Upward Trend, Reaches Highest Levels in Q4 2016

January 24, 20175:49 pm416 views

The labour market in China kept its upward momentum in the fourth quarter of 2016 with the CIER index reaching 2.41, the highest since the first quarter of 2015, compared with 2.22 in the third quarter and 1.93 in the second quarter of 2016. This is an indication of bright prospects for those seeking new employment.

Based on data from Zhaopin’s online platform, the CIER Index tracks the ratio changes between job vacancies and job seekers in a variety of industries and cities across the country, and identifies the overall trend in China’s employment market. Jointly published by Zhaopin and the CIER at Renmin University, the CIER index has become a leading barometer of China’s labour market and macro-economic environment.

 

The CIER index score is calculated by dividing the number of job vacancies during a specified period by the number of unique job seekers during the same period. A CIER index score of more than 1 indicates that the labour market is booming, with more vacancies than job seekers. A CIER index score of less than 1 indicates that the labour market competition is intensifying, with more job seekers than available vacancies.

Except for Northeast China, the CIER index for all other regions improved in the fourth quarter from the third quarter of 2016. Micro-sized companies (companies with fewer than 20 employees) had the highest CIER index score of 2.10 in the fourth quarter of 2016, followed by 1.81 for large companies (companies with more than 10,000 employees).

The job market in China had been on a declining trajectory in 2015 as the economic growth slowed down. With the overall economy improving in 2016, the job market reversed its declining trend and started to move upward since the second quarter of 2016.

The momentum continued in the fourth quarter with the CIER index reaching 2.41, the highest level since the first quarter of 2015, compared with 2.22 in the third quarter and 1.93 in the second quarter of 2016.

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Best and Worst Hit sectors in China

With the economy continuing to undergo a shift from an industrial, manufacturing-based economy to one that is more service-based”, the performance of different sectors continued to polarize in the fourth quarter of 2016.

Internet and e-commerce was still the best-performing sector with a CIER index of 10.89, up from 7.28 in the third quarter. Insurance, funds/securities/futures/investment, traffic/transportation and intermediary service sectors were also performing well by CIER index rankings.

Ten best-performing sectors in the fourth quarter of 2016
Ranking Sector CIER index
1 Internet/e-commerce 10.89
2 Insurance 5.69
3 Funds/securities/futures/investment 5.39
4 Traffic/transportation 5.08
5 Intermediary service 4.99
6 Farming/forestry/animal husbandry/fishery 4.67
7 Computer software 4.20
8 Education/training/college 3.38
9 Media/publishing/film and television/culture dissemination 3.33
10 Real estate/construction/building materials/engineering 3.30

 

The worst performing sectors by CIER index ranking in the fourth quarter of 2016 included energy/mineral/mining/smelting, printing/packaging/papermaking, and inspection/testing/authentication.

These traditional industries were under great pressure from the economic restructuring. Still, a positive sign was that the CIER index for these industries did improve in the fourth quarter compared with the third quarter of 2016.

Ten worst-performing sectors in the fourth quarter of 2016
Ranking Sector CIER index
1 Energy/mineral/mining/smelting 0.35
2 Printing/packaging/papermaking 0.38
3 Inspection/testing/authentication 0.40
4 Environmental protection 0.42
5 Office supplies and equipment 0.43
6 Petroleum/petrochemical/chemical 0.46
7 Electricity/power/water conservancy 0.54
8 Instruments/apparatuses/industrial automation 0.57
9 Medical equipment/apparatus and instruments 0.59
10 Property management/business center 0.60

 

IT and Internet sector continued to generate huge job demand to attract an influx of talents. In the fourth quarter of 2016, the job demand from this sector jumped by 48 percent year-over-year. Computer software posted the fast growth of 84 percent in job demand in the fourth quarter year-over-year.

Most e-commerce companies had year-end promotions in the fourth quarter, which resulted in 47 percent increase in job demand from internet/e-commerce companies. The real estate sector was still an important industry with increasing job demand in the Q4 2016, even though many cities had imposed purchase restrictions to curb the real estate bubble. The overall job demand in the sector went up 37 percent in the fourth quarter year-over-year.

Traffic/transportation sector enjoyed the highest growth in job demand among all sectors with an 82% increase in the fourth quarter of 2016 year-over-year. The central and local governments had approved huge investments to improve the transportation infrastructure. The year-end promotions by e-commerce companies also created surging demand for courier services.

 

Northeast China was still the lowest with a CIER index score of 1.40 in the fourth quarter of 2016, the same as the third quarter. However, there were some positive signs as the government has introduced new initiatives to rejuvenate the economy in Northeast China. The job demand in the region increased by 59 percent in the fourth quarter year-over-year, higher than the 35 percent growth in the third quarter.

 

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