BEIJING, Mar.14 -- Service sector employers have reported one of their most optimistic hiring periods in years, with nearly 25 percent planning to hire more staff over the next quarter, according to a survey from global recruitment company, the ManpowerGroup.
Its Employment Outlook Survey, covering the second quarter of the year, said its net employment outlook - which compared hiring and layoff figures - for the Chinese sector was +22 percent, meaning more employers planned to increase than cut staff, a quarterly increase of 4 percent compared to the first quarter.
The company produces localized surveys for many countries, and the exercise is considered one of the widest-recognized of its type.
Zhang Jinrong, managing director of ManpowerGroup China, said: "Vacancies are increasing in the nation's service sector as the central government aims to further boost its development in a bid to make its economy driven more by domestic consumption than by industrial investment and exports."
Within China's 12th Five-Year Plan (2011-15), the central government has prioritized improving the service sector to raise service levels and attract more talented staff to work in the sector.
The plan is to increase the added value of the sector by 4 percent, and add 4 percent more job opportunities by 2015.
In 2012, the added value of the service sector increased by 1.2 percent, 0.2 percent higher than expected.
"It is essential to boost the service industries and offer essential services for consumers to support the economic development of China gradually," Shi Zihai, head of the policy research office under the National Development and Reform Commission, said in an online interview on gov.cn and xinhuanet.com on Friday.
Service sector companies said government policies have started to have a positive effect on business.
Zhuang Qingman, general manager of Happy Lemon Shanghai Ltd, a teahouse chain with 300 outlets in China, said: "The recovering global economy and the enhanced daily living standards of consumers in China are boosting the demands of the service sector, and helping offer more opportunities for job seekers."
Happy Lemon is hoping to double its outlets across the country and recruit 80 percent more employees by the end of 2013.
Zhuang added that further development of the sector is essential, as Chinese residents spend more and their incomes rise.
The Manpower survey said Chinese employers expect to grow staffing levels in all the six main service industry sectors.
Opportunities for job seekers are expected to improve marginally for the second consecutive quarter.
China's net employment outlook of +18 percent (seasonally adjusted) is 3 percent stronger quarter-to-quarter and remains relatively stable year-on-year.
During the second quarter, 21 percent of Chinese employers said they expected to increase staffing levels, while only 3 percent planned to cut staff.
Some 41 percent of employers reported that they have no plans to grow or cut staff levels in the quarter ahead.
Manpower's Zhang added: "We are seeing sustainable growth being aggressively pursued.
"For instance, many enterprises in the coastal regions continue to search for the skills they need, and many are moving their search inland for management-level talent and technicians."
He said that the moderate economic recovery had provided solid opportunities for many companies to develop new business, meaning a renewed search for talent.
During this time, companies should consider implementing improved training systems, and explore ways to increase productivity to prolong the recovery effects and drive long-term, stable development, Zhang said.
The survey showed that positive hiring activity is anticipated in the wholesale and retail sectors, with an outlook of +20 percent, and the finance, insurance and real estate sector, with a +19 percent outlook.
Strong levels of hiring are also expected by employers in both the manufacturing and the transportation and utilities sectors, where outlooks stand at +17 percent, and in the mining and construction sector, with an outlook of +15 percent.
"Chengdu in Sichuan province has seized development opportunities in recent years and benefited from industrial transfers from the eastern coastal provinces to the west," said Zhang.
He added that to reinforce its position as the economic driver and largest market in western China, Chengdu is establishing a modern manufacturing base and creating conditions for its high-end service industry to flourish.
A total of 4,203 employers in the Chinese mainland were interviewed by Manpower to measure their staffing intentions between April and June 2013.
Globally, the survey said that employers in 32 of the 42 countries and regions surveyed expect to add to their workforces in varying degrees during the second quarter of 2013, compared to employers in 29 of 42 countries and regions in the first quarter of 2013.
Hiring optimism strengthened quarter-on-quarter in 21 countries and regions and softened in 15.