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Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Herman Trend Alert: China’s Future Labor Market December 19, 2007

Over the past decade, China's annual GDP increase has been nearly ten percent and for 2007, that growth is nearly 12 percent. We have watched this growth with interest and concern. China’s striking rise to prominence is evident in many ways. Few expect that Chinese economic growth will slow substantially anytime soon.

Many of the developed countries have felt significant losses as the Chinese economy has prospered. However thanks to the Adecco Institute White Paper, published this month, we have a better understanding of China’s situation.

China is not without its own list of major challenges: a significant and growing shortage of skilled workers, "massive economic transition, increasingly unequal income distribution, high unemployment, economic imbalance such as rising inflation, and a fast-aging workforce" (
http://www.hermangroup.com/alert/archive_12-3-2003.html) are already beginning to have a detrimental effect on its national labor market. Moreover, as time passes, these challenges, if not addressed appropriately, will limit economic growth.

Back in 2005 (
http://www.hermangroup.com/alert/archive_11-30-2005.html), we began covering China's labor shortage. "Of all China’s worries, there is little doubt that the growing shortage of skilled workers---leading to severe recruitment and retention problems---is one of the most pressing." It is surely at the top of foreign and local business interests. Certainly, the continuity of economic growth in China, and the sourcing of products there by foreign and national firms, will depend on the ability of Chinese firms to recruit and retain skilled workers, as well as their making productivity improvements. (http://www.hermangroup.com/alert/archive_6-20-2007.html)

"China is (currently) at full employment for skilled, technical, and managerial talent." In research conducted for the Adecco Institute, the Shanghai Academy of Social Science found that China's labor market faces 5 to 10 year supply constraints in five key areas of skilled labor: "management talent, English language skills, Research & Development personnel, senior and secondary technically skilled workers, and holders of professional certificates".

China's continued growth will depend on employers' addressing these critical issues.


Herman Trend Alerts are written by Joyce Gioia-Herman, a strategic business futurist, Certified Management Consultant, author, and professional speaker.

Archived editions are posted at http://www.hermangroup.com/archive.html

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