More than 40 candidates are competing for each job in the first quarter of this year, putting great pressure on job seekers, according to a report released on Thursday.
The report, released by Zhaopin, an online recruitment company, is based on a survey performed in 37 major cities including the municipalities of Beijing and Shanghai, Chengdu, Sichuan province and Shenzhen, Guangdong province.
"The competition is rather fierce in the first-tier cities like Beijing and Shanghai. I have sent 20-plus resumes to construction companies in Shanghai since September," said Xie Zhixing, a new graduate in civil engineering from Shanghai Tongji University.
"I also applied for positions in companies in Wuhan of Hubei province, which offers rather preferential policies－registered residence and allowance for educated people, for example," the 26-year-old postgraduate said.
Beijing attracted the most job seekers among the 37 cities surveyed, with the competition index reaching 102.9, surging from 86.4 last winter. The index is based on the ratio of resumes delivered and open positions.
Chengdu, capital of Sichuan, overtook Shenzhen and Shanghai to become the second-most popular city among job hunters this spring for its preferential policies, including hukou and cash grants offered to highly-qualified candidates, the report said.
A male job seeker surnamed Yan, who once ran an educational institute in Shanghai for several years, plans to begin his new life in Chengdu this year.
"I didn't get a registered residence in Shanghai. The house prices were really unaffordable to me. Chengdu is much more friendly to us job seekers, no matter the policies on hukou or entrepreneurship," the 28-year-old said.
The average pay in the 37 major cities is 7,629 yuan ($1,200) per month, a 2.1 percent decrease compared with last quarter. Beijing ranks first among these cities with its average salary reaching 10,197 yuan, followed by Shanghai with 9,621 yuan.
Payment for people involved in the financial industry rank first, with the their salaries reaching 10,421 yuan per month.
Real estate, architecture and engineering remain the most competitive sectors in the job-hopping market, according to the report.
Payment offered by real estate companies, such as Vanke and Country Garden, is between 18,000 yuan and 30,000 yuan pretax for graduates, which is rather attractive, Xie said.
Listed companies pay the most, with an average wage of 8,368 yuan, while private enterprises are the lowest, paying an average 7,377 yuan, according to the report.
A senior human resources manager with China State Construction said that wages of State-owned enterprises are more stable than foreign-funded companies or private ones, where operations are much more flexible.
"Companies usually adjust their pay structure to allow for labor costs and the situation in the market," he said. "But the leverage of skills required and positions available to the job seekers play the key role in pay levels."