Wage decline in China short-term phenomenon; employment market to maintain stability in 2024: experts

Chinese experts said on Friday that a decline in wages offered to Chinese workers in the fourth quarter of 2023 is a short-term phenomenon amid enterprises recovering profits, and expressed optimism over stable employment and residential incomes in 2024, in response to some Western media reports that said wages offered to Chinese workers in major cities saw the largest decline on record last quarter.

Bloomberg reported on Thursday that average salaries offered by companies to new hires in 38 key Chinese cities stood at 10,420 yuan ($1,458) in the fourth quarter of 2023, down 1.3 percent year-on-year, the worst drop since at least 2016, citing data from Chinese job-hunting platform Zhili-an Zhaopin.

“Wage decline in some industries is a short-term phenomenon as companies’ profits are recovering. However, we should note that some industries representing the country’s new productive forces have shown continuous salary increases,” Cong Yi, a professor at the Tianjin School of Administration, told the Global Times on Friday.

According to a report Zhilian Zhaopin sent to the Global Times on Friday, wages in the country’s new energy and electricity industries reached 11,840 yuan in the fourth quarter, up 3.3 percent year-on-year over the period, as enterprises accelerate talent hiring for expansion.

Along with continuous services and consumption recovery, wages offered to new hiring in the hospitality and catering industry rose by 2.4 percent year-on-year in the fourth quarter, while the transport industry reported 1.5 percent growth, showed the report.

The statistics illustrate that although the country’s employment pressure persists, some structural changes have emerged, with new economy, new energy and advanced manufacturing industries reporting increases in both wages and hiring scale, Li Chang’an, a professor at the Academy of China Open Economy Studies of the University of International Business and Economics, told Global Times on Friday.

Cong expressed optimism for a stable employment market and income growth in the country in 2024, given the sound performance of the country’s private economy and a flurry of targeted policies rolled out to bolster the economy.

China’s private Caixin Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) set a new high in four months to 50.8 in December 2023, indicating a sustained recovery in the nation’s medium- and small-sized manufacturers.

As the nine tasks proposed during the Central Economic Work Conference held in December are being earnestly carried out, the country’s upward economic growth trend will be sustained, Cong said.

In order to stabilize the job market, Li underlined the importance of strengthening vocational training, optimizing recruitment services, and taking steps to ensure the stable employment of key groups.

China’s employment situation has registered a stable performance while consistently seeing improvement in 2023. In the first 11 months, the average surveyed urban unemployment rate came in at 5.2 percent, 0.4 percentage points lower year-on-year, according to the latest data released by the National Bureau of Statistics.

The Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security recently issued a circular, pledging efforts to implement the strategy on developing a quality workforce and prioritizing employment, and providing large-scale skill training to migrant workers to increase their abilities for employment and entrepreneurship, domestic media outlet Thepaper.cn reported on Friday.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *