Harsh Reality of China’s Labour Market

Urban Job Survey Shows Supply Far Outstrips Demand

China is no exception to the recent increased pressure on the global job market. As the US economy teeters on the edge of a recession with the official unemployment rate climbing to 4.9% and a potentially disastrous drop in consumer confidence on the cards, the latest official employment figures from China also make for depressing reading.

According to statistics released by the Ministry of Labour and Social Security (MOLSS) in August 2001, the demand for jobs far outstripped supply in the second quarter of 2001. The statistics are based on information supplied by official labour agencies in 62 target cities. According to the MOLSS survey, labour exchanges in these cities dealt with just over 2.2 million job seekers but had only 1.54 million available jobs on their books.

The survey also highlighted some important characteristics of China’s urban labour market:

-- 73% of the jobs available were in the service sector;
-- 67% of employers expressed a gender preference. Demand for male workers increased;
-- 70% plus of the jobs available demanded workers between the age of 16 and 34;
-- 40% of the jobs available demanded high school graduates;
-- 50% plus of the jobs available required applicants to possess basic technical skills;
-- 48% of job seekers had no technical skills.

The survey demonstrated that the labour market remained skewed against older laid-off and unemployed workers and that skilled and semi-skilled male workers enjoyed a clear advantage in the competition for jobs.

(US: Yahoo News: 23/08/2001)
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