Shanghai holds largest offline recruitment fair in three years as better-than-expected economic recovery boosts job market
Published: Feb 25, 2023 05:08 PM
Photo: Chen Xia/GT

Photo: Chen Xia/GT

Shanghai held the largest offline recruitment fair since 2020 on Saturday in a local shopping mall attracting more than 1,200 companies across the Yangtze River Delta region and throngs of job-seekers, as the country's faster-than-expected economic rebound following coronavirus policy optimization has given a big boost to the domestic job market.

The fair also dispelled criticism from the Western media which claimed China has a weak labor market, as both job-hunters, employers and officials told the Global Times on Saturday that they felt the domestic job market has rebounded a lot since this year.

At around 9:00 am, half an hour ahead of the recruitment fair opening, many job seekers were already lining up or making preparations for the event.

At 11:00 am, the Global Times saw that job-hunters were packed within the fair, with almost every stand having a long queue of people waiting to talk with Human Resources representatives.

Kong Lingyang, a 22-year old student at the Shanghai University of Electric Power, said that he has been seeking jobs online during the last term because of the coronavirus situation, which he described as "searching for a needle in a haystack," but this year the situation has improved a lot.

"I feel that there are many more job vacancies this year compared with the autumn recruitment season, while the atmosphere of offline recruitment season is also more active," he told the Global Times.

Photo: Chen Xia/GT

Photo: Chen Xia/GT

Another 44-year-old job hunter surnamed Xiao also told the Global Times that many recruitment channels were shut during the coronavirus, as companies focused their attention on survival instead of expansion.

"I received more calls from headhunters recently," he smiled and said.

The Global Times saw that a large proportion of employers on site are tech companies in fields like new energy, electronics and biology. Some of them plan to hire more than 3,000 new employees in the near term.

The fair also attracted several overseas companies including Starbucks, Bosch and Tim Hortons.

In total, 25,000 jobs offers were made, with more than 15,000 offered to new graduates, according to statistics from the Shanghai Municipal Human Resources and Social Security Bureau, which organized Saturday's job fair.

China's labor market has experienced fluctuations over the past three years because of coronavirus disruption, but signs of recovery have emerged on the market this year after the country optimized coronavirus management measures.

Official data showed that China held about 20,000 recruitment fairs between January 1 to February 5, with about 13 million job vacancies being advertised.

A number of overseas media outlets have hyped up China's unemployment situation recently, with some saying that employment anxiety is high in China.

The improving employment situation also mirrors China's faster-than-expected economic recovery this year, as companies are looking to expand their talent pool to match their expanding business scale.

"From organizing this recruitment fair, we feel that Chinese companies' development and social expectations are gradually recovering. This applies to almost all industries, although their speed of recovery may differ," Zhou Guoliang, director of the Shanghai Employment Promotion Center, told the Global Times on Saturday.

He also said that China's graduate volume is in line with domestic job market demand.

"The employment prospects for China's university graduates is definitely not that severe," he said.

Photo: Chen Xia/GT

Photo: Chen Xia/GT

Some companies' representatives also said that they feel a pickup in market demands this year, which pushed them to expand recruitment budgets.

One HR representative from Canadian coffee brand Tim Hortons told the Global Times that business operation has resumed to normal state at the company's stores in China, and they plan to open more stores this year.

"Our business trend is uprising and rebounding in China," she said.

An HR director surnamed Gu from Nantong Nuotai Biomedical Technology Co said that her company is planning to hire about 40 new employees this year, compared with about 30 last year.

"Since the coronavirus optimization, market demands in our industry has been rising, while our production facilities are also expanding, so recruitment will also climb," she said.

Gu also revealed that her company plans to participate in about 15 offline recruitment fairs this year, compared with only about two or three during the epidemic.

Meanwhile, some industries that have been hit hard during the epidemic have also started to hire new employees recently with change of business climate.

Travel company Spring Tour, for example, announced recently to kick start its spring recruitment season, the first large-scale recruitment campaign in the past three years.