Target almost met as 10.97m jobs created by end of September

Updated: Dec 13, 2019 China Daily Print
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China is expected to see a steady and continuous rise in employment in the following months despite being plagued by shortage of talent and precarious foreign trade landscape.

In the past three quarters, the country has witnessed a stable growth in domestic employment, with 10.97 million new urban jobs having been created until the end of September as against a target of 11 million set in March, thanks to sound economy and the government's employment-first policy, according to the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security.

The ministry said the unemployment rate was at a reasonable range.

According to the ministry's data, the registered unemployment rate in urban areas was 3.61 percent, down 0.21 percentage points year-on-year, in the third quarter. The surveyed unemployment rate in September was 5.2 percent, lower than the anticipated 5.5 percent.

Job prospects will see a month-by-month rise, though it is weaker than that in the same period of 2018, according to a report by Zhaopin, an online recruitment platform headquartered in Beijing, and the China Institute for Employment Research.

The report said the CIER index, a key indicator of China's labor market, will match up to that of the third quarter of this year while peaking by the end of this year. The index is calculated using vacancies offered divided by number of job seekers.

"The rather stable growth in employment is due to robust economic development and government's full preparation for possible unemployment problems," said Chen Lixiang, vice-dean of China Institute for Occupation Research, Peking University, Beijing.

He said that despite the positive outlook, the domestic job market still faces problems.

"The nation is in the process of restructuring the economy, while some labor forces are not accustomed to adjustments," he said. For example, the knowledge that students have learned may not be useful for the jobs because of fastgrowing information technology, he said.

"Also, the current international trade landscape mounts great pressure on foreign enterprises who may downsize under financial pressure," he said. "However, these enterprises may find a better way to upgrade their products rather than stagnating in the traditional labor-intensive mode."

He said the biggest employment problem is the shortage of qualified talent. The jobs related to artificial intelligence, for instance, require the knowledge involving many principles. But so far, most of the universities are not able to offer complex training programs to their students, he said.

In addition, these positions require high-quality talent. The jobs requiring rather lesser skills or knowledge also face a labor shortage.

"Traditionally, migrant workers take up jobs that require low skills, but they are reluctant to let their children take up jobs that are looked down upon by the people," he said.

The job market is also beset by problems such as shortage of skilled workers and discrimination against female workers, according to Li Qiang, vice-president of Zhaopin.

"Skills training is of great importance in the job market as companies focus more on work skills and communication skills," he said.

He said measures should be taken to encourage flexible employment to ease pressure on companies.

Citing a recent Zhaopin report, he said about 73.8 percent of the surveyed white-collar workers recognized flexible employment but the absence of social security and stable income deterred them from taking up such jobs.

Chen Lixiang, vice-dean of China Institute for Occupation Research, said that developing the economy is the "fundamental way of improving domestic employment", and also offering skills training programs to job seekers to make them qualify for vacancies offered.

"There are already several training programs available to groups such as college students and migrant workers, but the training fee — 100 yuan ($14) or 200 yuan per month — may deter those in poor financial condition," he said.

"We need to figure out the best way to cover these fees and give people easier access to training courses, and help them find better jobs."

The Fourth Plenary Session of the 19th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China in October adopted a decision on how to perfect a mechanism for full employment and high-quality employment.

The key Party meeting said that employment remains the priority of people's livelihoods, and that entrepreneurship and flexible employment would be encouraged. Also, discrimination in job market will be prevented to give the job seekers a fair environment.

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