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Chinese Workers Feel More Stress

Workers in China feel more work-related stress than their counterparts in other Asian economies, a report on employment and human resources said.


Overall, 53 percent of respondents on the Chinese mainland said they had experienced relatively or significantly higher levels of work-related stress in the past year. This was a higher rate than in any other markets surveyed, including Japan, Singapore, and Hong Kong, according to the Hudson Report released yesterday.


The Hudson Report is a quarterly survey of hiring expectations released by an international human resources company.


The Asia report polled 2,400 people involved in recruiting in the four major Asian markets, with 724 from the Chinese mainland.


Workers in the healthcare and life sciences sector reported the greatest increase in work-related stress in the past year, with 45 percent of respondents saying they felt a significantly higher amount of stress. A further 25 percent said they felt relatively higher stress.


"The higher stress these people feel is caused by the fast-paced economic development in China in these past years," said Angie Eagan, general manager of Hudson Recruitment (Shanghai) Ltd. "Most companies set high growth targets, which translates into stepped up productivity for workers, especially in some new industries."


Having to do more work is considered the most significant cause of work-related stress. Across all sectors, 36 percent of respondents blamed their stress on increased volumes of work, far more than any other single reason, such as insufficient support or having to work with unqualified co-workers.


To relieve their stress, 61 percent of the respondents said they would hire more staff in the second quarter of this year, or 2 percent more than in the first quarter.


"The increase in China's employment rate is the highest among all the Asian markets we surveyed," the general manager said. "The trend will be even more obvious later this year."


"The report's findings are absolutely correct, even though many young people complain it is hard to find a job," Zhu Qingyang, secretary-general of the Shanghai Human Resources Consulting Association, said.


"What insiders have found is that many companies can't find qualified talent. Many young students didn't meet the standard for a professional career person. Before complaining, job seekers should adjust their attitudes."


The report said that of all the sectors covered, banks had the brightest hiring expectations, with 75 percent saying they would hire more staff this year, slightly up from 73 percent last year.


"The opening up of the banking market to foreign entrants is having a huge impact," said Cherol Cheuk, manager in charge of the finance and banking and legal sectors at Hudson.


"Some foreign banks have already started to march into second- or third-tier cities in China."


The highest growth in hiring expectations over the past year was reported by the manufacturing sector, where the number of respondents planning to expand their staff rose to 61 percent this quarter from 56 percent in the second quarter of 2006. The government's Go West policy to encourage companies to move to second and third tier cities is likely to have a positive impact on manufacturing employment.


"Many job opportunities come from high-end industries such as automobiles and aerospace," Georgie Chong, director of industrial, human resources and talent management at Hudson Shanghai, said.


The report said sales positions accounted for the highest proportion of recruitment by job category, with 24 percent of all new hiring forecast for this area.


(China Daily April 20, 2007)

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