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Crisis forces white-collar staff to stay put
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White-collar workers across China are becoming increasingly concerned about the impact of the global financial crisis on their careers.

Recently, an e-mail entitled "Ten Points for Attention" has been arriving in many of their inboxes. In the current climate, it advises white-collar staff that they shouldn't quit their jobs, change career or ask for pay rise.

The e-mail might be a joke. But, Yao Wei, an analyst working for the National Australia Bank in Hong Kong, said most of his friends in the financial and banking industry are struggling to keep their current jobs, rather than looking for a new one.

Regardless of the bleak reality, there are still some who are prepared to take a risk. Sun Mei, a journalist at a Hong Kong-based magazine, said although it is not the right time to switch jobs, she is still ready for any opportunity that could benefit her career, no matter how much money she will be paid.

"Of course, we have to be very careful about switching jobs, but you never know if it is a good job unless you have a try," she said.

Jiang Xue, a graduate of the University of Warwick in the United Kingdom, applied for posts at a number of investment banks and financial institutes, but very few replied to her.

An industry insider said employers are divided into two camps: one is cutting jobs as it is concerned about the impact of the crisis. The other is planning to expand its recruitment of highly skilled professionals as it thinks the crisis will be overcome in a short time.

KPMG China plans to recruit 2,000 staff compared to 1,600 in 2007.

According to a report by human resources company Zhilian Recruiting, 49.5 percent of respondents said their career plans have not been influenced by the financial crisis. But, about 30 percent of respondents have canceled or postponed their plans.

Employees in different positions hold different views on changing jobs, while middle managers and rank-and-file staff, especially salespersons, are more active in changing their jobs, but high-ranking staff are taking a more cautious approach.

(China Daily November 7, 2008)

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