If you recruit in China or are considering beginning a recruitment program in China, this information will be useful.
Since 1978 more than 700 million Chinese people have been lifted out of poverty. For the first time in its history, China has a huge middle class. Average income per capita in China’s biggest cities is roughly equivalent to the average income in Taiwan and South Korea when those countries became democracies. By 2020, by some estimates, the Chinese middle class may outnumber the middle class in Europe.
There are now more billionaires (568) living in Beijing and Shanghai than in New York. Income inequality is as much a concern in China as it is in the United States.
One in six Chinese is already over 60. By 2025, the projection is one in four. One of the long-term effects of the one child policy, rising incomes that allowed young people to study abroad for university, urbanization and increased mobility has been profound societal changes. A generation of young, university-trained Chinese are no longer interested in returning to villages to take care of their parents and grandparents. An estimated 58 million young Chinese live alone. Chinese “old age” homes are springing up around the country. President Xi recently issued an order to young Chinese to communicate with their parents on a regular basis. The family was once the cornerstone of stability in Chinese society. That appears to be changing.
In 2000 about 1 million Chinese students completed university degrees. In 2015 the figure was 7 million. Last year more than 500,000 Chinese students studied abroad. Since 2005 the number of Chinese secondary school students studying in the United States was 35,000. Chinese student mobility has, and will continue to be, a source of students in the future.
However, the return on a university education, in terms of securing a good job after graduation, is changing. Good jobs are more difficult to obtain in China as more graduates flood the job market and competition is fierce. Reliable statistics are difficult to analyze, but there is some evidence to suggest that an increasing number of Chinese university graduates are opting to work in the United States, the UK, Australia and Canada. Since 1978, 4 million Chinese have studied abroad and 50 percent have not returned to China after graduation. Since 2001 more than 1 million Chinese have become citizens of other countries. This development adds to the instability of the traditional Chinese family and value system, based on the teachings of Confucius.
The point of this blog is to illustrate that whether your Chinese recruitment program is old or new, the economic, political and societal changes taking place in China today will impact future recruitment strategies.
If you are interested in a deeper analysis of the changes taking place in China today, I recommend reading “The New Class War” article in the July 9th issue of The Economist.