LinkedIn: Soft skills most in-demand amid booming online recruitment
By Hu Binyi

Graduate students this year are facing much more rigorous challenges than in previous years because of the spread of COVID-19. On the other side of the coin, online sectors are adding weight to China's economy amid the pandemic, thanks to the booming stay-at-home industry known as "Zhaijingji" in Chinese. So, what are graduate students planning to do in such a situation?

The Ministry of Education said some 8.7 million graduates are entering the job market this year. Billy Huang, head of Consumer Marketing and Communications at LinkedIn China, said the number of graduates this year hit a record high, which makes it much more difficult to find a job. 

China's jobless rate in urban areas stood at 5.3 percent and 6.2 percent respectively in January and February, official data showed.

However, the pandemic has created new job opportunities through online platforms. Online entertainment, like gaming, videos and live streaming, is booming. But the delivery industry, online education and online recruitment sectors have also seen significant upticks.


Global Business surveyed 1,182 recent graduates from across China on Weibo, 26 percent of whom said they have turned to online recruitment to get a job. 

Huang said online job interviews are completely different from traditional face-to-face ones, both for companies and job hunters.

He said LinkedIn and Kuaishou launched an online job fair earlier this month, and all the companies that participated in the two-week fair were online and cloud-based, such as and Intel. Some of them showed job hunters what their work environment would look like in the online briefing and held "micro forums" so that people could have simultaneous communication based on different cities. 

That's never happened in a face-to-face interview, Huang said, adding that job hunters also have to prepare better in front of the camera.

As the industries transform, Huang said soft skills have never been so crucial today.

"This is indeed challenging, but we can also regard it as a perfect test for the adaptability and flexibility of graduate students," Huang said.

"According to the latest LinkedIn data, I think the most on-demand skills for employees are adaptability, EQ, innovative capability, persuasive capability and problem-solving capabilities. Those capabilities are all soft skills."

LinkedIn has launched a non-profit initiative designed to guide new graduates called "LinkedIn Coaches." LinkedIn has a massive pool of professional veterans in various industries. Huang said the purpose of the program is to mobilize and motivate LinkedIn members to donate one hour per month to help graduate students who are in need.

The Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security is also trying to expand online recruitment platforms to encourage young people to start their own businesses and turn some job hunters into job-creators. 

With the confirmed COVID-19 cases cooling down in China and shops almost fully reopened, spring recruitment is coming soon.