China Labor Market Index of Job Vacancies Fell in the First Quarter of 2018

April 20, 2018

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BEIJING, April 20, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — Zhaopin Limited (“Zhaopin” or the “Company”), a leading career platform in China focused on matching talent with skills and opportunities through their career lifecycle, and the China Institute for  Employment Research (“CIER”) at Renmin University of China released the CIER Employment Index Report for the first quarter of 2018.

After the Chinese New Year holiday, the number of job seekers jumped significantly in this busiest season for job hopping in China. Meanwhile, job openings declined over the previous quarter. As a result, the CIER index dropped sharply to 1.91 in the first quarter of 2018, which means there were 1.91 job vacancies for each unique job seeker. The CIER index in the first quarter was far below the record high of 2.91 in the fourth quarter of 2017, but kept at the same level compared with first quarter of 2017.

China’s first-quarter 2018 labor market highlights:

  • With surging job seekers and declining job openings, the CIER index dropped sharply to 1.91 in the first quarter of 2018, but kept at the same level compared with first quarter of 2017.
  • Internet and e-commerce sector slowed down significantly in the first quarter with CIER index plummeting to 5.05, less than half the 10.24 recorded in the fourth quarter of 2017. It lost the “best performing sector” crown for the first time since the third quarter of 2015. The intermediary services industry became the best-performing sector in the first quarter of 2018 with a CIER index of 6.28.
  • Eastern China enjoyed the highest CIER index score of 1.58, followed by 1.40 for Central China and 1.19 for Western China.
  • The CIER index was above 1 for second- and third-tier cities, while the index was below 1 for first and emerging first-tier cities.
  • The labor market competition for job seekers is expected to ease and the CIER index is likely to go up slightly in the second quarter of 2018.

CIER index adjusted with seasonality

Spring is the traditional peak season for job hopping in China, and campus recruitment for college graduates also started in the first quarter, which led to a surge in labor supply over the previous quarter. However, the job openings actually declined over the fourth quarter of 2017, pushing the CIER index down to 1.91 in the first quarter of 2018. Even though the index was much lower than the record high of 2.91 in the fourth quarter of 2017, it maintained the same level as the first quarter of 2017.

According to Zhaopin’s data, total online recruitment demand in China rose 17% year-over-year in the first quarter of 2018.

CIER index by sectors

The gap between the best-performing sector and worst-performing sector continued to narrow in the first quarter of 2018. The CIER index of the best performing sector was 10 times better than that of the worst performing sector, compared with 14 times gap in the fourth quarter of 2017.

The intermediary service outperformed all other sectors to become the best-performing sector in the first quarter of 2018 with a CIER index of 6.28. The internet/e-commerce sector fell to the second place, which was the first time this sector lost the top spot since the third quarter of 2015.

Ten best-performing sectors in the first quarter of 2018

Ranking

Sector

CIER index

1

Intermediary service

6.28

2

Internet/e-commerce

5.05

3

Insurance

4.89

4

Education/training/college

4.33

5

Real estate/construction/building materials/engineering

4.27

6

Traffic/transportation

3.76

7

Medicine/biological engineering

3.27

8

Funds/securities/futures/investment

3.08

9

Hotel/restaurant

2.92

10

Outsourcing service

2.88

Most of the worst-performing sectors were traditional manufacturing industries suffering from over-capacity, including energy/mineral/mining/smelting, environmental protection, and printing/packaging/papermaking. The CIER indexes for all of these under-performing sectors were below 1.

Ten worst-performing sectors in the first quarter of 2018

Ranking

Sector

CIER index

1

Energy/mineral/mining/smelting

0.61

2

Environmental protection

0.62

3

Printing/packaging/papermaking

0.63

4

Office supplies and equipment

0.65

5

Instruments/apparatuses/industrial automation

0.73

6

Petroleum/petrochemical/chemical

0.75

7

Gifts/toys/arts and crafts/collection/luxuries

0.80

8

Property management/business center

0.93

9

Aerospace research and manufacturing

0.94

10

Electricity/power/water conservancy

0.94

The intermediary service sector became the best performing sector in the first quarter of 2018. While the job demand in most sectors dropped quarter-over-quarter, the demand in intermediary service increased by 12.7% in the first quarter over the previous quarter. The demand mostly came from the third-tier and below cities.

Year-over-year change in recruitment demand for intermediary service sector in the first quarter of 2018

First-tier cities

-33%

Emerging first-tier cities

-11%

Second-tier cities

5%

Third-tier cities

150%

Fourth-tier cities

697%

Fifth-tier cities

297%

The IT and internet sector slowed down significantly in the first quarter with CIER index plummeting to 5.05, far below 10.24 in the fourth quarter of 2017. With high employee turnover rate in the sector, the job supply jumped by 20% quarter-over-over, but the demand plunged by 40% in the first quarter over the previous quarter.

Year-over-year change in recruitment demand for  IT/Internet sector in the first quarter of 2018

First-tier cities

-6%

Emerging first-tier cities

17%

Second-tier cities

-6%

Third-tier cities

39%

Fourth-tier cities

157%

The real estate sector continued its fast growth in the first quarter of 2018 with job demand increasing by 40% year-over-year. The demand was moving from first-tier cities to lower tier cities.

Year-over-year change in recruitment demand for real estate sector in the first quarter of 2018

First-tier cities

-2%

Emerging first-tier cities

37%

Second-tier cities

26%

Third-tier cities

114%

Fourth-tier cities

416%

The medicine/biological engineering sector was a new booming high-tech industry. The job demand in the sector surged by 36% year-over-year in the first quarter.

Year-over-year change in recruitment demand for medicine/biological engineering sector in the first quarter of 2018

First-tier cities

19%

Emerging first-tier cities

33%

Second-tier cities

12%

Third-tier cities

62%

Fourth-tier cities

208%

CIER index by occupations

The best performing occupations in the first quarter of 2018 included mechanic/operator, sales, transportation service, and education/training.

Ten best-performing occupations in the first quarter of 2018

Ranking

Sector

CIER index

1

Mechanic/operator

27.63

2

Sales

12.64

3

Transportation service

11.31

4

Education/training

7.67

5

Translation (oral and written)

7.36

6

Healthcare/beauty/hairdressing/bodybuilding

7.14

7

Supermarket/hotel/entertainment management/service

6.93

8

Community/residency/housekeeping

6.62

9

Real estate development/broker/agency

6.46

10

Software/internet development/system integration

6.42

The worst performing occupations in the first quarter of 2018 were PR/media, IT management/project coordination, project management/coordination, and trust/warrant/auction/pawn.

Ten worst-performing occupations in the first quarter of 2018

Ranking

Sector

CIER index

1

PR/media

0.85

2

IT management/project coordination

1.07

3

Project management/coordination

1.07

4

Trust/warrant/auction/pawn

1.12

5

Senior management

1.19

6

Environmental science/protection

1.26

7

Property management

1.28

8

Advertising/event/expo

1.33

9

Sales/business administration

1.36

10

Manufacturing management/operation

1.37

CIER index by regions and cities[1]

In the first quarter of 2018, Eastern China continued to enjoy the highest CIER index score of 1.58, followed by 1.40 for Central China and 1.19 for Western China. Even though the CIER indexes for these regions declined from the previous quarter, they were basically on the same level from the first quarter of last year.

However, the labor market in Northeast China continued to deteriorate in first the quarter with CIER index dropping to 0.89, below the watershed of 1, which means there were fewer job vacancies than job seekers in the quarter.

CIER index by regions

Region

4Q 2017 CIER

1Q 2018 CIER

Eastern China

2.57

1.58

Central China

2.00

1.40

Western China

1.74

1.19

Northeast China

1.20

0.89

The CIER index was higher in smaller cities than that in large cities in the first quarter of 2018. Third-tier cities had the highest CIER index score of 1.83, while the first-tier cities suffered the lowest of 0.71.

CIER index by cities

City

4Q 2017 CIER

1Q 2018 CIER

First-tier cities

0.85

0.71

Emerging first-tier cities

1.44

0.98

Second-tier cities

2.53

1.64

Third-tier cities

3.18

1.83

CIER index by size of companies

In the first quarter of 2018, large-sized companies had the highest CIER index of 1.91, followed by 1.27 for micro-sized companies and 1.01 for medium-sized companies.

CIER index by size of companies

Company size

4Q 2017 CIER

1Q 2018 CIER

Large-sized (more than 10,000 employees)

2.61

1.91

Medium-sized (500 to 9,999 employees)

1.39

1.01

Small-sized (20 to 499 employees)

1.34

0.85

Micro-sized (fewer than 20 employees)

1.96

1.27

CIER index by type of companies

The CIER index for all types of companies declined in the first quarter of 2018. Public companies were the highest with CIER index of 1.14, followed by 1.04 for joint ventures.

CIER index by type of companies

Company size

4Q 2017 CIER

1Q 2018 CIER

Private companies

1.63

1.02

Shareholding companies

1.47

1.02

State-owned enterprises

1.30

0.90

Joint ventures              

1.43

1.04

Public companies

1.50

1.14

Wholly foreign-owned enterprises

0.93

0.74

Labor market outlook

The labor market competition for job seekers is expected to ease and the CIER index is likely to go up slightly in the second quarter of 2018.

Methodology and how to interpret the data

Based on data from Zhaopin’s online recruitment 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 of China every quarter, the CIER index has become a leading barometer of China’s labor 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 labor market is booming, with more vacancies than job seekers. A CIER index score of less than 1 indicates that the labor market competition is intensifying, with more job seekers than available vacancies.

[1] Cities are categorized to tiers based on standard of CBN Weekly. First-tier cities include Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen. Emerging first-tier cities include Chengdu, Dalian, Dongguan, Hangzhou, Nanjing, Ningbo, Qingdao, Shenyang, Suzhou, Tianjin, Wuhan, Xi’an, Changsha, Zhengzhou, and Chongqing. Second-tier cities include Changzhou, Foshan, Fuzhou, Guiyang, Harbin, Hefei, Huizhou, Jinan, Jiaxing, Kunming, Nanchang, Nanning, Nantong, Quanzhou, Shijiazhuang, Taiyuan, Weifang, Wenzhou, Wuxi, Xuzhou, Yantai, Yangzhou, Changchun, Zhongshan, Zhuhai. Third-tier cities include Baotou, Daqing, Hohhot, Huai’an, Linyi, Luoyang, Qinhuangdao, Weihai, Xianyang and Zhenjiang.

For more information, please contact:

Zhaopin Limited
Ms. Serena Sun
roujia.sun@zhaopin.com.cn

ICR Beijing
Mr. Edmond Lococo
Phone: +86 10 6583-7510
Edmond.Lococo@icrinc.com

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SOURCE Zhaopin Limited

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