Entering the workforce might be a thrilling yet stressful experience for young people. However, the job landscape has changed, especially regarding skills needed and rising sectors. The rising youth unemployment rate is a major global issue, especially after the COVID-19 pandemic. Recently, concerns have arisen over youth unemployment in China.
Youth unemployment in China
As the world changes, the job landscape also evolves. It gets increasingly competitive with challenging job requirements and decreasing openings. The Global Employment Trends for Youth 2022 report by the International Labour Organization (ILO) states that youth unemployment is estimated to reach 73 million in 2022. The youth here is defined as those aged between 15 and 24 years.
The report further states that in 2020, the number of youth not in employment, education, or training reached 23.3%, the highest rate in 15 years. In May 2023, the youth unemployment rate in China (16-24 years old) reached 20.8%, the highest record in the country so far. The number nearly doubled the pre-pandemic level of roughly 10%.
Researchers at Goldman Sachs indicated a gap between the skills obtained from higher education and those required by employers. For instance, the research cited that the number of vocational school graduates majoring in education and sports rose by more than 20% in 2021 compared to 2018. Yet, the industry hiring demand decreased in the same period.
In addition to that, the researchers further suggested that the rising youth unemployment rate might be cyclical. In other words, the unemployment rate will likely rise during the graduation season in the summer, which will lead to an additional supply of workers. The rate is predicted to decline at the end of the year as economic activities improve.
According to China Daily, the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Finance, and the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security of China recently released a policy to tackle youth unemployment in China. The policy provides employers with a special one-time allowance of ¥1,500 ($207) for each young person they hire until the end of December. The young person hired must be either a college graduate within the past two years or registered jobless workers aged between 16 and 24.
Furthermore, as the skill gaps are believed to contribute to youth unemployment in China, providing students with key aspects for skill development can be one of the ways to address the gaps. Ensuring economic growth and more job opportunities are also crucial in addressing the issue.
“The fundamental way to solve the youth employment problem is to develop the economy and create more stable job opportunities, and to ensure that jobseekers match with job vacancies. The large number of private companies are an important means of stabilizing the national economy and are also the country’s main employers. So the government can encourage private companies to create job opportunities by offering them preferential policies and reducing information asymmetry between companies and college students to better connect both sides,” said Pang Shi, from the Chinese Academy of Personnel Science to China Daily.
Editor: Nazalea Kusuma
Madina is the Assistant Manager for Program at Green Network Asia. She is an English major graduate from Universitas Indonesia with two
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