China's Labor Market Fails Graduates

Photo Credit: ShenZhen Undercover

It is no secret that China’s export driven economy is one of the most resilient in the world.  As the rest of the world plunged into a recession and responded with debt-fueled stimulus efforts, China invested its own capital savings into its infrastructure, improving its export possibilities with generous new expansions.

However, with China leading the world in unskilled labor, it’s falling sharply behind in the productivity from its college graduates.

The Exportation of Labor

China’s economic boom is largely contributed to incredible gains in the manufacturing sector provided by outsourced projects from the world’s developed nations.  One problem for China, though, is that much of its workforce is unskilled, and skilled labor positions have yet to move from the US and Europe to the far East.  Developed nations still lead the world in college graduates, and the United States still shines for having the best post-secondary education system in the world.  These recent graduates in the United States are finding jobs internally, working for mega conglomerates to design, develop, and test new products, while the production of the physical products is completed overseas.

Finding Jobs for China’s Students

The government contends that the job market is robust for its graduates, citing data that shows 87% of recent graduates have found work.  China’s graduates disagree, commenting that the statistics are inflated, and the few job opportunities open to skilled-labor barely pay living wages.  The unemployment rate will only continue to grow for skilled-labor, with 6.3 million Chinese expected to graduate in 2010.

Has China Peaked?

Without the encouragement and development of jobs that employ more thought work than physical labor, China’s economic position may be reaching its peak.  A near majority of its citizenry still lives in impoverished conditions, farming the land for little more than enough to eat each day.  The manufacturing base, which employs many Chinese workers, provides little more in living wages than sustenance farming, and although driving the export economy, it isn’t making anyone rich by any means.  If China’s internal consumption economy will grow, it will come not from manufacturing and farming, but from the employment of college graduates.

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