China's job market will remain generally stable for the next five years as the country cranks up its proactive job-creation measures to cope with the challenges ahead.
Led by the country's consistent job-first policy, the State Council has released a plan on boosting employment for the 14th Five-Year Plan period (2021-2025), vowing to add over 55 million new urban jobs in the next five years.
Li Zhong, vice-minister of human resources and social security, told a press conference on Monday that the plan is an "important guide" for the work related to employment, which faces both opportunities and challenges.
Acknowledging the current problems and future uncertainties in the job market, a senior official with China's top economic planner who was also at the meeting said that they are "overall confident in keeping employment stable."
The country's positive economic outlook has laid an important foundation for promoting employment, said Gao Gao, a senior official with the National Development and Reform Commission.
New growth drivers have also been formed to boost employment, Gao said, citing the examples of the digital economy and the country's efforts in promoting mass entrepreneurship and innovation.
China's ever-growing service sector, with new industries constantly emerging, has served to absorb labor. The number of people working in the tertiary industry accounted for 47.7 percent of the total workforce in 2020, up 4.4 percentage points from that of 2016, according to Li.
The country's job market is also underpinned by the private sector. Vibrant market entities, especially the micro, small and medium-sized enterprises and self-employed businesses, provide over 80 percent of job positions and create over 90 percent of new jobs in China.
Gao also noted that China boasts 200 million skilled workers, of whom over 50 million are highly-skilled, and they now constitute a strong pillar supporting the drive of "made in China" and "designed in China", he added.
Challenges & solutions
With the launch of the five-year job plan, China aims to solve prominent issues underpinning the country's job market. The main conflicts in employment are the "structural" ones, noted Gao.
For example, structural conflicts occur when the education and training models in the higher-education system do not accord with the market demand, he said.
Gao also pointed out that amid the acceleration of population aging, older workers will increasingly find it hard to gain employment as industries transform and upgrade.
Although promoting employment is an arduous task, Li said the human resources ministry will "make every endeavor" to expand the employment capacity, scale up multi-level vocational-skill training and safeguard employment among the key groups.
Specific measures have been mentioned in the plan, including setting up support schemes for workers involved in flexible employment and new forms of work, while pushing for the coordinated development of employment across different regions, Li added.