Age discrimination appears to be worsening in China

Factory owners in China have for decades refused to hire production line workers over 30-years-of-age, but now such blatant age discrimination is spreading to the professional services as well.

A new study by the China University of Political Science and Law revealed that employment discrimination was rife in the civil service. It found that all of the 9,762 positions advertised in six surveyed central government organizations in 2011 contained stipulations that systematically discriminated on the basis of age and health. For example, all 92 positions offered by the Civil Aviation Police Corps required that applicants be under the age of 28, the Beijing Times reported 21 November.

This follows a recruitment drive last month by the Shenzhen Securities Exchange for management, legal, accounting and computing professionals that also stipulated that all applicants should be under 28-years-old.

The securities exchange was challenged by a Shenzhen non-governmental organization campaigning against discrimination, and the civil service restrictions have been criticized by many professionals who pointed out that experience should be seen as an asset not a disadvantage in such positions.

Recruiters say the main reason for hiring younger professionals is that their salaries will be lower and, it is believed, they will be willing to work longer and more flexible hours than older employees with families.

Moreover, age is simply one of many forms of employment discrimination in China. Other very common types of discrimination include gender, height, ethnicity, health, disability and social and political status. Several civil service departments surveyed, for example, specified that candidates should be members of the Chinese Communist Party or Youth League.

Factory recruitment advertisement in Dongguan clearly stipulating applicants should be between 20- and 30-years-old, in good health, have no infectious diseases, and be of a certain height and educational background according to gender.
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