The Chinese government plans to have 200 million graduates in the workforce by 2020. Although this number still needs to be seen in its context of the 1.3 billion Chinese population, it is still a large increase from the 1 million graduates in 2000. But cracks in the plan are being shown by the class of 2013. Seven million people finished university this year and many are finding that the type of jobs they want are not available.
Many employers also can’t find the labour they want to fill their jobs. This is an illustration of China’s economy at a turning point in its development. The rapid economic expansion of the past 30 years, based on cheap labour making goods for export, is slowing down and something needs to come and fill the gap it is leaving behind.
In the first of Global Business’s China 2013 series, Peter Day travels to the centre of China, the city of Zhengzhou in Henan province. For centuries the city has been known as the crossroads of the country, situated by the Yellow River and where the north-south and east-west railways meet. It’s an apt place to investigate China’s economy at its own crossroads.
(Image: Business woman going to work in Shanghai, China. BBC Copyright, Kevin Foy)
Contributors to this programme
Ju Lei and An Dan
graduates looking for jobs at Zhengzhou Job Fair
Director General of the Centre for China and Globalisation, a think tank in Beijing
Professor of Political Science and International Relations at the University of Chicago’s Centre in Beijing
Factory owner in Zhengzhou
Professor Liu Baocheng
from the University of International Business and Economics in Beijing
graduate and Communist Party member
medical devices salesman
graduate who is in the midst of setting up his own retail business