Earlier this year, Monroe China conducted a Workforce Survey with the aim of gaining an insight into the employee attitudes to the market, capturing job confidence across the country. We also hoped to gain a deeper understanding of the factors that were currently impacting upon recruitment, and what the future will hold over the next coming months.
At the time of the survey (which was taken from 6th Feb to 19th Feb) the outbreak of Coronavirus had continued to spread across the globe, with the epidemic in Hubei province reaching critical levels. Many companies have been directly impacted by the outbreak.
Infield Alliance directed more than 160 professional managers working in Chinese and foreign enterprises with more than five years of experience to complete the survey questionnaire.
The interviewees included the senior and middle-level managers of well-known Chinese and foreign enterprise groups, as well as CEOs of leading small to medium-sized enterprises and core management staff. This covered more than ten industries including Manufacturing and Consumer Goods.
The fixed annual salary of the interviewees was mainly concentrated in the RMB 300,000 to 1 million range, in specific geographical areas including Shanghai, Beijing, Shenzhen and the surrounding core cities.
The insights gained from the survey captured a certain sense of hesitancy. For the pre-judgment of the company's layoffs this year, 32% of participants believed that their company will not lay off employees. In contrast, an equal amount of those surveyed felt that their company will in fact make layoffs, while 35% remain uncertain.
This has the potential to reflect and forecast the actions that companies may take in the future half year. From the above data, companies may potentially lay off less crucial roles to increase the output of more significant positions, such as those within Sales and Marketing, or increase hiring headcounts to recruit talents to replace under-performing employees.
The top functions of companies that are continuously recruited are marketing at 34.12%, technology development at 23.63%, operational support at 14.29%, production management at 9.52%, and strategic investment at 2.56%. Recruitment in the marketing sector has continued to climb this year, surpassing the demand for technology R&D talents.
However, while the Coronavirus has undoubtedly caused disruption, the survey revealed that 25% of companies have not adjusted their expansion plans for 2020, while 43% have suspended recruitment and stopped expansion. 32% are uncertain whether their company will proceed with layoffs in 2020.
Under the outbreak, the needs and proportion of the market are more magnified than usual. As such, the survey captures the expectations of participants at the time of the epidemic, and the uncertainty that this brings to the market for next subsequent quarter.
Yet as we progress through 2020, the outbreak of the virus is shifting gear. While Coronavirus cases continue to grow across the Middle East and Europe, the progress of the virus in China is beginning to slow down. Employees are returning to work, bringing a sense of optimism to the market. Authorities report the fewest number of new cases since infections started being tracked in January; the number of patients who have recovered from the virus is greater than those who are still being treated.
The survey concluded with three top motivations for executives; 35.33% sited better business prospects, 23.62% hoped for more stable platforms, while 15.43% wanted a higher salary. The likelihood of these prospects therefore increases now the virus appears to be slowing down, thus opening up the potential for companies to invest in top talent. Output may have decreased so far this year, but the capacity for recovery is strong.