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Pay Still Important, But Jobseekers Also Look to Prospects

Career prospects are becoming more important to Chinese jobseekers although pay is the most important factor, according to a recent survey.

More than 52 per cent of those surveyed by the Beijing-based China Mainland Marketing Research Company said bright career prospects and opportunities to give full play to individual potential were among the main criteria for a "good" job.

Zhou Jiang, the company general manager, said: "We have noticed that, when considering accepting a job, urban citizens now are paying an increasing attention to its prospects for development."

In a similar survey conducted in 1997, fewer than 30 per cent of respondents said they looked for jobs that would promote individual development.

But the No 1 attraction in the job market is a handsome salary, whereas it was job security in the 1997 survey.

More than 50 per cent of the 13,300 respondents in the 31-city survey said a high income was the most important factor they considered when seeking a job.

Shen Qinqin, a professor with the Research Centre of Chinese Human Resources Development, attributed the change to the increased mobility of personnel in the market and the way that society now regards the possession of wealth as a symbol of success.

The professor said: "An obvious gap in income has already arisen among various careers, which is quite different from the past when the salaries were the same despite differences in the nature of jobs. This has made job stability meaningless."

Stability has traditionally been considered a criterion for a good job. Jobs in government departments, although they paid less, were attractive because their employees had a stable income and seldom got sacked.

However, government departments and a number of institutions are gradually losing their attractiveness in the job market as they no longer provide free housing and cradle-to-grave welfare.

Shen said: "Under current conditions, the position of companies in the market is very important (in attracting professionals). Those showing an upward development trend and promising opportunities for the improvement for their employees, such as training, will take the upper hand.

"All this has imposed new challenges to the leaders of enterprises," she added.

(China Daily February 21, 2002)

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