Easing employment online

By Qi Xijia Source:Global Times Published: 2020/2/9 22:43:40

Chinese job market faces challenges amid virus outbreak

A woman (right) fills a document at a job fair in January 19 in Huaibei, East China's Anhui Province. Photo: cnsphotos

In the Chinese job market, there is a famous saying that goes "golden March and silver April." In other words, the best time for job seeking is from the middle of February to the middle of April where there will be plenty of job opportunities. But this year, think twice. 

The thirty something Jin Yun who works for a state-owned company has been looking for a new job since the second half of 2019, but now she has to postpone her plan due to the uncertain job market outlook, which has been impacted by the outbreak of the novel coronavirus pneumonia (NCP).

"I planned to move to a startup company. However, after the NCP broke out, it hit hard on many small and medium-sized enterprises. I decided to keep my job first and put aside the job-hopping at the moment," Jin told the Global Times.

It was expected that it would be better in March and April, but now the job opportunities are greatly affected and the outlook is uncertain, Lin Zheng, a thirty something Shanghainese, told the Global Times. As a content creator for a foreign enterprise she had planned to move to a better position, but said the outbreak of the coronavirus has made her think twice.

"There are fewer positions on the hiring websites as many have not returned to work yet. Plus, it is unsafe to go out to have interviews these days," she added.

Adjustment of plans 

Similar to Jin and Lin, two thirds of job seekers who originally planned to switch their jobs after the Spring Festival have changed their ideas amid the epidemic, according to a survey on 1,600 companies and more than 11,000 individuals, which was released by the recruiting website zhaopin.com.

It showed that the 66 percent of job seekers had adjusted their plans due to the outbreak of the NCP, of which 12.2 percent have abandoned the idea of seeking jobs in other provinces and cities, and 12.9 percent have abandoned their original intention to change jobs. 

Another survey from zhaopin.com on enterprises showed that most corporations have cut off their recruitment scale compared with their original plans while more than 40 percent of corporations said their recruitment scale has not been affected. 

Lauren Wang, a Shanghai based recruiter with a foreign invested IT company told the Global Times on Thursday that they will continue hiring when work resumes on February 10, but the uncertainty about the future headcounts still remains.

"We will continue to fitfully recruit the 30 some headcounts released before the Chinese New Year. Given the past experience, there will be a lot of positions to be filled after the Chinese New Year, but the situation this year is hard to say," she said.

During the outbreak of the NCP, she expects her job to be tougher as candidates may be hesitant to go out for an interview. 

"In the past, candidates from other provinces may be willing to switch to Shanghai and come in for an onsite interview, but I am not sure under the current situation," she said, adding that her company may conduct more online interviews to cope with the situation.

Going Online 

To ease the overall employment situation, human resources departments in various regions advocate the shift of business services from offline to online and strive to achieve non-stop online recruitment and employment services in spite of the NCP outbreak.

Some companies have also come up with online recruitment offers. NetEase, a Chinese Internet technology company, for example, has launched a so-called non-contact recruitment by providing remote interviews, remote contract signings and IT support for employees during the transition period, the company said on its official WeChat account.

Online recruiting comes as an industrial consensus for self-help in special times. More and more companies are actively embracing it, Song Qinghui, an independent economist, told the Global Times on Saturday.

Fifty-five percent of companies surveyed also hope that recruiting platforms can provide video interview services, as well as online assessments of job skills and online personality testing.

"As the talent flow is suppressed and most companies are likely to reduce the size of their hiring to overcome the difficult time, the epidemic has a big influence on the post-holiday job market. At the same time, job seekers' expectations for better positions and incomes have also shown a downward trend," he said.

However, he noted that some companies with core competitiveness will recruit on a large scale against the trend to occupy a larger market share after the epidemic is under control.

"Although the outbreak of the NCP has affected most enterprises, there are still some sectors that are not affected, for example, online education, entertainment and medicine," he said, adding that the job market can only be restored and boosted when the epidemic is effectively controlled.


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