Phenomenon of Chinese Labor: Difficulties in Finding Jobs for Chinese Graduates and “Acute Shortage of Labor”

Phenomenon of Chinese Labor:
Difficulties in Finding Jobs for Chinese Graduates and “Acute Shortage of Labor”

Jiang Haibin

Master, Assoc. Prof., Institute of Physics, Jilin Normal University, Siping City, Jilin Province, China

Veselova L.S.

Cand. Sci. (Hist.), Assoc. Prof., National Research University «Higher School of Economics» (St. Petersburg), St. Petersburg, Russia

Lebedintseva L.A.

Dr. Sci. (Sociol.), Assoc. Prof. St. Petersburg State University, St. Petersburg, Russia.

ID of the Article:

The article is the interim result of a research project in the humanities and social sciences of Jilin Province, project No. JJKH2021467SK.

For citation:

Jiang Haibin, Veselova L.S., Lebedintseva L.A. Phenomenon of Chinese Labor: Difficulties in Finding Jobs for Chinese Graduates and “Acute Shortage of Labor”. Sotsiologicheskie issledovaniya [Sociological Studies]. 2021. No 8. P. 118-129


The article is dedicated to the problem of a shortage of workers in the real sector of the PRC economy, primarily in material production. Analysis of the current trend shows that Chinese youth are not ready to work in low-paid jobs. It is noted that the discrepancy between the needs and social aspirations of people in society and the relatively backward material production, work on which is considered hard and low-paid, has gradually matured, intensified during the period of the beginning of economic reforms manifesting in full force in modern society. A main reasons for the current socioeconomic problem is associated with the unresolved contradiction between labor demand and supply in the Chinese socio-economic system. It is concluded that there is a need to further align education system and the needs of the market, in particular, to create a professional training system for highly qualified personnel urgently required in the economy, to develop existing talents in new industries, such as information security, software development, network engineering, communication engineering, new energy vehicles, etc.

difficulties in finding a job; labor shortage; Chinese graduates; talent management in the PRC; middle class in China; the PRC education system


崔双杰. 激励视角下 «用工荒» 现象的研究. 2010. [Cui Shuangjie. (2010) Research on the Phenomenon of “Labor Shortage” from the Perspective of Motivation. Journal of Shanxi University (Higher Education Edition). Vol. 13. No. 1: 8–13. (In Chin.)]

习近平. 决胜全面建成小康社会夺取新时代中国特色社会主义伟大胜利. 在中国共产党第十九次全. 国代表大会 上的报告. 北京: 人民出版社, 2017. [Xi Jinping. (2017) A Decisive Victory to Build a Well-off Society in an All-round Way to Win the Great Victory of Socialism with Chinese Specific in the New Era: Report at the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China. Beijing: People’s Publishing House. (In Chin.)]

Bai Limin. (2006) Graduate Unemployment: Dilemmas and Challenges in China's Move to Mass Higher Education. The China Quarterly. Vol. 185: 128–144. DOI: 10.1017/S0305741006000087.

Cai Yuzhuo. (2011) Chinese Higher Education Reforms and Tendencies: Implications for Norwegian Higher Education in Cooperating with China. Norwegian Centre for International Cooperation in Education (SIU). Report 04/2011. URL: education_reforms_and_tendencies_Implications_for_Norwegian_higher_education_in_cooperating_ with_China (accessed 24.06.2021).

Chen Hon Fai. (2018) Chinese Sociology: State-Building and the Institutionalization of Globally Circulated Knowledge. London: Palgrave Macmillan.

China Statistical Yearbook 2017. URL: (accessed 15.01.2020).

China Statistical Yearbook 2018. URL: (accessed 13.06.2021).

China Statistical Yearbook 2019. URL: (accessed 15.01.2020).

Kuruvilla S., Lee Ch.K., Gallagher M.E. (eds) (2011) From Iron Rice Bowl to Informalization: Markets, Workers, and the State in a Changing China. Ithaca, NY; London: Cornell University Press.

Ghose A.K. (2005) Employment in China: Recent Trends and Future Challenges. Employment Strategy Papers. No. 14. International Labour Organization. URL: -ed_emp/---emp_elm/documents/publication/wcms_114032.pdf (accessed 24.06.2021).

Li Cheng. (2016) Chinese Politics in the Xi Jinping Era: Reassessing Collective Leadership. Washington, DC: Brookings Institution Press.

Marioulas J. (2017) China: A World Leader in Graduation Rates. International Higher Education. No. 90: 28–29. DOI: 10.6017/ihe.2017.90.10009.

Wang D.D. (2019) Performance-based Resource Allocation for Higher Education Institutions in China. Socio-Economic Planning Sciences. Vol. 65. Iss. C: 66–75. DOI: 10.1016/j.seps.2018.01.004.

Yaisawarng S., Ng Y.C. (2014) The Impact of Higher Education Reform on Research Performance of Chinese Universities. China Economic Review. Vol. 31. Iss. C: 94–105. DOI: 10.1016/j.chieco.2014.08.006.

Zhao Yong. (2014) Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Dragon? Why China Has the Best (and Worst) Education System in the World. San Francisco: John Wiley & Sons Incorporated.

Content No 8, 2021