Why the Chinese job market will remain stable in 2023

China

China’s job market had a good start in the first two months of 2023 and is expected to stay stable this year as the country’s economy continues to recover, with fundamentals remaining sound and the government taking effective measures to support employment.

“The job market’s performance in the first two months was better than expected,” Wang Xiaoping, minister of human resources and social security, said at a news conference in Beijing on Thursday. “Migrant workers looked forward to resuming work during the Spring Festival holiday in January, and companies launched recruitment campaigns to help them resume production soon after the holiday.”

“As of the end of February, 46,000 job fairs had been held nationwide, with around 32 million job vacancies offered,” Wang added.

China’s overall employment situation will remain stable this year as the fundamentals of the nation’s economy, which is resilient, vibrant and promising, remain unchanged, Wang said. Furthermore, innovation and entrepreneurship will offer strong support for development of the job market, and new growth points for employment will continue to emerge.

“The optimized policies that support employment and large-scale skills training programs for job seekers give us strong confidence in stabilizing the job market,” Wang said.

However, she emphasized that the nation still faces pressure and challenges in ensuring employment, noting that the number of college graduates continues to reach new highs, while the structural imbalance of the job market hasn’t been well addressed.

“The number of college graduates will reach 11.58 million this year, while companies and factories face a shortage of skilled workers,” she said.

Solid measures will be rolled out to support business startups, the service sector and micro and small enterprises, and to help those who have recently shaken off poverty, said Wang. “We are confident that we can successfully meet the annual employment target and maintain overall stability in employment,” she added.

Yu Jiadong, vice-minister of human resources and social security, said at the news conference that employment pressure comes from a large working-age population, though the nation faces slower population growth.

“China remains the developing country with the largest working-age population, which totaled 876 million by the end of last year. About 16.62 million residents are expected to enter the urban job market this year, adding to the employment pressure,” Yu said at the news conference. “We will stick to employment-first measures to let the economy generate more job opportunities.”

With regard to the employment of college graduates — one of the major groups in the job market — Yu said that the ministry will continue prioritizing the group in efforts to promote employment this year.

He said that the ministry will encourage government bodies and State-owned enterprises to expand their recruitment campaigns targeting graduates. Young people are also encouraged to find jobs at grassroots-level positions or start their own businesses, he added.

In the past 10 years, an annual average of 13 million jobs were created in the country’s urban regions, according to statistics from the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security. A total of 12.06 million jobs were created in urban regions last year.