Clamp Down on Labour Exchanges

Labour Market Tightened Up

The Ministry of Labour and Social Security is attempting to bring some order into the chaotic and expanding Chinese labour market. Private employment agencies - ranging from high-powered headhunting firms to hand-written job adverts pinned to park notice boards - have become a major employment channel over the last decade. While many are bona fide operations, others operate outside the law, preying on migrants and laid-off state-owned enterprise workers desperate for employment. Cases of fictitious jobs, illegal charges, deposits and even bonded labour have been frequently exposed in the Chinese media.

Over 2,000 labour agencies have been closed as a result of illegal practices since 1999. Another 7,000 have been ordered to make changes. Local labour and social security authorities in over 100 cities have also been told to compile reports on the supply and demand for labour and make their findings public.

Reports from 62 cities indicate that the service sector had most jobs on offer in the second quarter of 2001 and also that private enterprises far outstripped the public sector in terms of labour recruitment. Private companies accounted for 28.9% of all jobs taken up while state owned enterprises accounted for just 9% of new employment.

(China: China Daily, 24/08/01)

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