Amidst job markets facing uncertainties and layoffs, China’s employment pressure worsening this year

Experts warn that jobseekers may need to brace themselves for an even more challenging year ahead, as the employment landscape remains shrouded in pessimism.

Workers in China are facing a harsh job market, with pay cuts and layoffs becoming commonplace amid diminishing opportunities and growing uncertainties. Experts warn that jobseekers may need to brace themselves for an even more challenging year ahead, as the employment landscape remains shrouded in pessimism.

Feng Peixin, a Beijing-based headhunter specializing in private banking and pharmaceuticals, highlighted the prevailing negativity in the job market in China. Traditionally, senior-level management could anticipate a salary surge of at least 20 to 30 per cent when switching jobs. However, according to Feng, the current norm is “an unchanged salary or even a pay cut.” This shift is attributed, in part, to workers’ fears of job loss, prompting them to accept lower-paying positions rather than holding out for more lucrative opportunities.

The prevailing job market conditions reflect the wider economic challenges. Feng said that is due, in part, to concerns that workers in fear of losing jobs make them more likely to jump ship for a mediocre salary instead of holding out for higher-paying work. Also on the other hand, unstable international relations have resulted in slashed revenues and successive job cuts.

International relations are also playing a role in magnifying the challenges faced by the job market. The instability in global geopolitical dynamics has resulted in slashed revenues for many businesses, subsequently leading to job cuts. Feng commented that due to challenges in selling to the U.S. and European markets, companies were now concentrating on markets in Southeast Asia and other countries connected to the Belt and Road initiative. However, he noted that their purchasing capabilities were limited. Feng also warned that the pressure would continue worsening this year and there appears to be no apparent solution to it.

In the fourth quarter of last year, the average monthly salary in 38 major cities of China decreased by almost 1.3 per cent. According to Zhilian Zhaopin, China’s online recruitment platform, this drop in the fourth quarter marked the biggest quarterly drop since the year 2016.

As workers brace themselves for what may be a more challenging year, employers and policymakers will need to explore strategies to revitalize the job market. Initiatives to enhance economic growth, provide support for struggling industries, and enhance workforce training and skills development could contribute to a more resilient and dynamic employment landscape.

In conclusion, China’s workers are grappling with a grim job market marked by pay cuts and layoffs. The uncertainties stemming from economic challenges and global instability are shaping a landscape where job seekers are compelled to direct cautiously and prioritize stability over financial gains.