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Mismatch in China's job supply, demand

Publication Date : 17-02-2014

 

Job seekers and potential employers left Beijing's job fairs disappointed this weekend, as the available positions didn't match what the prospective employees were looking for.

The four major career fairs marked the launch of the first job-searching season of 2014, as migrant workers flock to or soon will return to cities after Spring Festival, and millions of college students look for employment before they graduate in the summer.

One disappointed recruiter was Bu Chenyu, investment manager of financial firm Hua Yi Gold (Beijing) International Management Co.

Bu said he had 15 employees handing out fliers with job descriptions at the job fair at the National Agriculture Exhibition Center, but the outcome "failed to meet my expectations".

"Most job hunters shopped around at different booths and had little patience to know more about our company or were inclined to leave a resume," Bu said.

Bu's company was seeking 100 investment consultants and five investment managers, offering generous benefits that include several subsidised trips home and abroad a year. But the company received only about 50 resumes, and more than half the job seekers are soon-to-be college graduates with little work experience, he said.

"I noticed that almost all companies attending the fair needed to hire sales personnel, which intensified the competition," he said.

Also hunting for employees in the crowds on Sunday morning was Zhao Can, a recruitment agent from Future PI, a company in Beijing that provides business management services. Zhao's company was paid to hire 36 employees for a building material manufacturer.

"I start a conversation with people I feel are suitable for our jobs and ask them what they expect of their future employers," he said. He added he believes more recruiters than job seekers were at the fair.

Yu Hongxing, an administrative chief from Baigao Education, a training institution in architectural industry, said most job seekers came to the fair with a wait-and-see attitude even though the company offered an annual salary of 1 million yuan (US$164,800) for senior sales managers.

"Most of our job vacancies are related to investment and sales, but we found out that many job hunters are not interested in such challenging jobs, but prefer office work like administration, which we don't need," he said.

Some job seekers also noticed the mismatch in what they want to do and the positions that were available.

Zhao Liyuan, a senior from Xingtai, Hebei province, who is majoring in communication technology, came to the job fair at about 8:30am on Sunday before the fair opened.

However, after carefully reading the brochure that listed all the job vacancies at the fair, the 22-year-old Zhao realised that there weren't any jobs that would enable him to become a communication technician, the position for which he has trained for three years.

Companies attending the two-day fair planned to hire 20,000 workers for 8,000 positions, according to the fair organiser, Chaoyang district's human resources service centre.

Wang Guangzhou, a researcher at the Institute of Population and Labor Economics under the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said the discrepancy between jobs wanted and offered shows that China's labour market will have a labour shortage and structural imbalance in the long run.

"China's working-age population reached a turning point in 2012 and began an accelerated decline," he said.

"However, our education system has failed to adjust accordingly with the demographic change. Our students trained in colleges cannot meet the demand of the market, and it is hard for them to find jobs they like."

He said it will take time for China to upgrade its economy and reform the educational system to relieve the labour shortage.

 

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