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ManpowerGroup Employment Outlook Survey

2023 Q4 Mainland China
Chinese Employment Outlook Remains Steady and Cautious in Q4: The Net Employment Outlook is (+34%) after seasonally adjusted analysis. However, Chinese organizations expect the NEO to worsen by 1 percentage point since last quarter, and to weaken by 9 points compared to the fourth quarter of 2022.
Shenzhen leads in employment optimism with highest annual growth rate: Chinese organizations in all 12 regions expect an increase in staffing levels in the fourth quarter of 2023. The most competitive region in China is the Shenzhen region, with a NEO of 42, rising by 3 percentage points since last quarter, and by 15 percentage points since this quarter last year.
Communication Services and Health Care & Life Sciences offer strongest employment prospects: The Communication Services sector reports the greatest increase in expectations since the third quarter of 2023, with a rise of 28 percentage points, but falling by 4 percentage points since this time last year. The Health Care & Life Sciences sector (+47%) saw a 6 percentage point growth quarter-on-quarter and a 10 percentage point growth year-on-year.
Large enterprises have the most positive recruitment expectations, while micro-enterprises show the most significant growth: Chinese employers in large organizations with 250+ employees are the most optimistic with a NEO of +39%. The organizations reporting the greatest increase since last quarter and since this time last year are micro-organizations with less than 10 employees. They report a rise of 6 points since Q3 2023 and 14 points since Q4 2022.

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About the ManpowerGroup Employment Outlook Survey

What is the ManpowerGroup Employment Outlook Survey?
The ManpowerGroup Employment Outlook Survey measures employers’ intentions to increase or decrease the number of employees in their workforce during the upcoming quarter. It is the most extensive forward-looking survey of its kind, unparalleled in its size, scope and longevity. The Survey has been running since 1962 and is one of the most trusted indicators of labor market trends in the world.
What questions do you ask in the survey?
All the data in the survey is based on the answer to one question: How do you anticipate total employment at your location to change in the coming three months as compared to the current quarter?
In addition to the main employment question, the survey asks up to six additional questions which change quarterly. These questions reflect changing economic or workforce dynamics and trends. Topic areas range from talent shortage to workforce training and development to employee sentiments and well-being.
What is meant by Net Employment Outlook (NEO)?
The Net Employment Outlook is derived by taking the percentage of employers anticipating an increase in hiring activity and subtracting from this the percentage of employers that expect to see a decrease in employment at their location in the next quarter. A positive Net Employment Outlook figure means that, on balance, there are more employers who expect to add to their headcount in the following three months than those who intend to reduce staff.
Does the survey provide data on planned employment changes?
The ManpowerGroup Employment Outlook Survey only measures if employers expect to hire or not and does not provide information about specific job changes. The Survey is a forecast, not a commitment, based on informed opinions from employers and hiring managers on what will likely happen in their organization in the following quarter.
How large is the sample?
The Q2 2023 ManpowerGroup Employment Outlook Survey is based on interviews with 3060 public and private employers in 12 cities and provinces in China (excluding Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan), and worldwide, the sample covers nearly 39,000 employers in 41 countries and territories.
What is the survey methodology?
The methodology used to collect the data for the Employment Outlook is digitized across the 41 markets, beginning with the Q1 2022 report. 
Respondents in previous quarters were contacted via telephone. Data is now collected online with double opt-in member panels and they are incentivized to complete the survey.  
In line with standard findings of online surveys, more people are now taking a position – selecting that their workforce will either increase or decrease vs. no change. Because the Net Employment Outlook is based only on the people saying increase or decrease, the result of this higher level of engagement means the methodology shift may contribute to a higher Outlook. 
How are companies selected for the survey?
Employers are selected based on the types of companies and organizations they represent. We want to ensure that our panel is representative of each participating country’s national labor market, so each country’s panel is built in proportion to that country’s overall distribution of industry sectors and organization sizes. 
Who do you interview in each company?
The person we select to interview will be someone with a good overview of staffing levels and hiring intentions within their organization. Normally this will be the head of HR or an HR manager. However, in smaller organizations, that person may be a general manager or even the CEO. 
What industries are surveyed and included?
Since Q1 2023 sectors were standardized across all markets to bring them into line with ManpowerGroup's standard verticals. They are:
Transport, Logistics & Automotive Transportation and Storage
Air Freight & Logistics
Road & Rail
Transportation Infrastructure
Auto Components
Communication Services Telecoms, Media and Communication
Diversified Telecommunication Services
Wireless Telecommunication Services
Media and Publishing
Interactive Media & Services
Other Communication Sub-Industry
Consumer Goods & Services Wholesale and Retail Trade; Repair of Vehicles
Accommodation and Food Service
Arts, Entertainment and Recreation
Other Service Activities
Household Durables
Leisure Products
Textiles, Apparel & Luxury Goods
Leisure Facilities, Gaming & Casinos (Gyms, Spas, etc.)
Accommodation, Restaurants, Hotels, Resorts & Cruise Lines
Specialized Consumer Services
Education Services
Online & Direct Marketing Retail
Multiline Retail (Department Stores, etc.)
Specialty Retail (Apparel, Technology, etc.)
Other Consumer Discretionary Goods & Services Sub-Industry
Food & Staples Retailing
Food Products
Household Products
Personal Products
Other Consumer Staples Sub-Industry
Energy & Utilities Energy Equipment & Services
Oil, Gas & Consumable Fuels
Electric Utilities
Gas Utilities
Water Utilities
Waste Remediation
Independent Power and Renewable Electricity Producers
Other Energy and Utilities Sub-Industry
Financials & Real Estate Banking, Finance and Insurance
Real Estate
Thrifts & Mortgage Finance
Diversified Financial Services
Consumer Finance
Capital Markets
Mortgage Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs)
Equity Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs)
Real Estate Management & Development
Other Financials & Real Estate Sub-Industry
Health Care & Life Sciences Human Health and Social Work
Health Care Equipment & Supplies
Health Care Providers & Services
Health Care Technology
Life Sciences Tools & Services
Other Health Care & Life Sciences Sub-Industry
Industrials & Materials Forestry
Mining and Quarrying; Electricity, Gas and Air Conditioning Supply; Water Supply; Sewerage, Waste Management and Remediation Activities
Professional, Scientific and Technical Activities
Administrative and Support Services
Aerospace & Defense
Building Products
Construction & Engineering
Electrical Equipment
Industrial Conglomerates
Trading Companies & Distributors
Commercial Services & Supplies
Professional Services
Other Industrials Sub-Industry
Information Technology  Chemicals
Construction Materials
Containers & Packaging
Metals & Mining
Paper & Forest Products
Other Materials Sub-Industry
Information and Technology; I.T.
IT Services
Communications Equipment
Technology Hardware, Storage & Peripherals
Electronic Equipment, Instruments & Components
Semiconductors & Semiconductor Equipment
Other IT Sub-Industry
Other/None of the Above Government (National or Local) or Public Service
Not for Profit / NGO/ Charity/ Religious organization
Other Transport, Logistics & Automobiles Sub-Industry
Educational Institutions
'Agriculture & Fishing
Other Industry (Please write in)
Who conducts the research?
Reputation Leaders is our lead research partner who analyzes data for all 40 countries and territories to ensure consistency.
Can you explain the Margin of Error calculation?
By their very nature, surveys are imperfect measures. All surveys have a margin of error, which is largely determined by the number of interviews completed. For the ManpowerGroup Employment Outlook Survey, the minimum panel size in each country and territory is 620 to ensure a margin of error no greater than +/-3.9%. This prevents undue distortion of the data because of one respondent changing their response from one quarter to the next.
Why do you seasonally adjust the data?
Seasonal adjustment is a statistical process that allows the Survey data to be presented without the impact of hiring fluctuations that normally occur through the course of the year, usually as a result of various external factors, such changes in weather, traditional production cycles and public holidays.
Seasonal adjustment has the effect of flattening peaks and smoothing troughs in the data to better illustrate underlying employment trends and provide a more accurate representation of the ManpowerGroup Employment Outlook Survey results.
How do you know if hiring intentions reported come to fruition?
ManpowerGroup does not track retrospective hiring trends as part of the Employment Outlook Survey, only forward-looking expectations. However, we are able to see that the Survey results do align with employment trends reported by governments and other organizations quite closely and provide one of the most robust and trusted indicators of forward-looking labor market trends in the world.
What is the best way to analyze the results? Is it better to look at quarter-over-quarter or year-over-year comparisons?
There are several ways to review the results, which are reported for 40 countries and territories, and specific industries and regions within each. The current results, including the Net Employment Outlook, provides a snapshot of employers’ expectations for the coming three months. Comparing this result to the previous quarter provides a short-term perspective of hiring expectations in a particular country or sector, while comparing to the previous year gives a longer-term view on employer intentions.
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