Country's job market stabilizes despite challenges
Updated: August 26, 2022 09:09 China Daily

The central government has stabilized China's job market in the past 10 years and has managed to withstand the tremendous impact inflicted by the COVID-19 epidemic and challenges posed by economic downturn since 2020.

Data from the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security showed that the urban working population has increased in the past 10 years, growing from 373 million in 2012 to 468 million in 2021, and the average annual growth of newly employed people during the period was around 13 million.

More people transferred to working in the service industry from 2012, helping to improve the employment landscape. The ministry said service sector employees made up 30.4 percent of the total working population in 2012, and that increased to 48 percent in 2021.

"The overall employment picture remains stable, giving sound support to the nation's economic development and social stability," Li Zhong, vice-minister of human resources and social security, said at a news conference in Beijing on Aug 25.

"However, as a developing country with the world's largest population, we still face continuous pressure in employment and an ever-increasing structural imbalance in the job market. The growing uncertainties also pose challenges in job promotion efforts," Li added.

One of the key groups that may face more difficulties landing jobs due to population growth is college graduates-roughly 10.76 million this year-who have attracted a lot of attention from the central government in the past 10 years.

Zhang Ying, director of the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security's Employment Promotion Department, said the employment of college graduates is of great importance to the nation's future, social welfare and economic development. However, the group has faced new problems in recent years after the number of job vacancies declined due to sporadic outbreaks of COVID-19.

"But we still consider their employment a priority in our work and have more supportive policies to attract them to work at grassroots-level positions, starting their own businesses or taking flexible jobs," she said. "We've also organized online and on-site job fairs to help them get more job or internship opportunities."

Zhang said the ministry has improved the protection of college graduates' rights, such as by punishing illegal recruitment agencies and investigating prejudice against the graduates when they are looking for jobs.

In addition to employment, the ministry has also made more efforts since 2012 to improve the State-level social security network to cover more people, especially those who are vulnerable, such as migrant workers, or flexibly employed.

The ministry said the population covered by the State-level pension security increased from 790 million in 2012 to 1.03 billion in 2021. The population covered by the national unemployment security network and work-related injuries network respectively reached 230 million and 280 million last year, compared with 150 million and 190 million in 2012.

Qi Tao, the ministry's deputy director of pension security, said at the same news conference that pensions given to retirees went up in the past 10 years, although the nation was pressured by an economic downturn and COVID-19 outbreaks.

He said that China has sufficient reserves to cover social security obligations.

"In 2021, pension security fund income was 4.4 trillion yuan ($642 billion), and the disbursement was 4.1 trillion yuan, which is a balanced budget," Qi said.

He added that China will continue to improve the social security system so it is fairer and more sustainable in supporting payments to beneficiaries.

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