Job prospects for Chinese

China’s slower-than-usual economic growth has put pressure on the country’s millennials and Generation Z. Reared by a generation of Chinese who made their wealth during nearly four uninterrupted decades of explosive economic growth, they face much lower expectations for economic dynamism and their own prospects going forward.

“China’s golden years, the two decades or so after our country’s reform and opening-up policies, are over. There’s nothing I can do about this. I can only accept it,” says 20-year-old Jeffrey An, who is starting a master’s degree…

“I think for the younger generation, the wage growth has really significantly slowed down,” she says. The average expected salary for young workers graduating from college in 2023 dropped to 8,033 yuan (about $1,160), about $15 lower than the year before…

However, nearly 11.6 million university graduates joined the job market last year, and many are still looking for employment. “I don’t think the Chinese economy will be able to absorb the new graduates [from 2023],” says Houze Song, a fellow at the Chicago-based think tank the Paulson Institute. “Because of ongoing property crisis and the local government debt drag to growth … I believe that Chinese growth rate [in 2024] is more likely to be even lower than [in 2023], which means that the youth unemployment rate is more likely to continue to accumulate.”

On top of all these pressures, a regulatory blitz last year targeted China’s consumer tech companies and education firms…



On a related note…

Chinese women have been shunning marriage and babies at such a rapid pace that China’s population in 2023 shrank for the second straight year, accelerating the government’s sense of crisis over the country’s rapidly aging population and its economic future.

China said on Wednesday that 9.02 million babies were born in 2023, down from 9.56 million in 2022 and the seventh year in a row that the number has fallen. Taken together with the number of people who died during the year — 11.1 million — China has more older people than anywhere else in the world, an amount that is rising rapidly. China’s total population was 1,409,670,000 at the end of 2023, a decline of two million people, according to the National Bureau of Statistics.

The shrinking and aging population worries Beijing because it is draining China of the working-age people it needs to power the economy. The demographic crisis, which arrived sooner than nearly anyone expected, is already straining weak and underfunded health care and pension systems.


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