In the 1970s, during the reform era, China experienced a major boost in labor and employment. The working Chinese almost doubled in number, from 400 million in the 1970s to almost more than 776 million now. China accounts for 26% of the global workforce and ranks first with regard to the total work force. With the great quality of products and the cheap labor costs of Chinese workers, many employers have relocated their factories and base companies to China.
Chinese Labor in Ancient Times
10,000 years BC was the pre-imperial period, when Chinese civilization began to develop. During this era agriculture started, which is still top for employment in the country. 49% of the Chinese work force is involved with agriculture. Although the bulk of China’s labor force works in the agriculture sector, it is also involved in other industries.
When the feudal system was abolished in 200 BC, laborers switched sides. Agriculturists became merchants and artisans. This boom in the work force resulted in the creation of many Chinese monuments and edifices, such as the Great Wall of China.
Labor During the Communist Regime
In 1949, Mao Zedong transformed China into a communist country. From this period to the 1970s, labor was controlled by the government. No trade was allowed with other countries. During the communist regime, the Chinese labor force focused on the production of satellites and weapons. By the 1980s, China became the biggest producer of hydroelectric power. The collapse of the Communist regime in the 1980s opened doors for trade. The commencement of free trade has helped China become the number one provider of labor in the world.
Economic Activity for both Genders
As the largest producer of laborers, China is included in the top 10 of many lists regarding economic activity. China ranks first with regard to the economic activity of both genders aged 20-24. About 92% of the country’s employees belong to this classification. Workers aged 25-29 are placed third with 95.31%. Workers aged 30-34 and 35-39 rank sixth and ninth at 95.68% and 95.79% respectively. Because the bulk of Chinese employees are in their prime, the result is more production in a shorter period of time.
Opportunities for Women
China is also the leading country for women employees. Chinese women are considered fortunate, as some countries don’t permit their females to work. Some nations, still have gender disparity when it comes to employing women. The female Chinese workforce aged 20-24, is number one in the world, out of 166 countries. Almost 91% of the work force belongs to this division. Women belonging to the age 25-29, 30-34, and 35-39 brackets comprise 92% of the total.
Chinese specialists who are knowledgeable in the physical sciences, engineering, social sciences and life sciences are also plentiful. These specialists play a major role in research and development, which helps the country further increase its income. Taking the 7th place out of 49 participants, China boasts of more than 200 specialists per one million employees. This is made possible by the large number of higher education institutes in China.
Occupations of the Labor Force
As it has been said, 49% of Chinese employees work in the agriculture industry. After all, it’s the number one producer of cotton at 25,500 bales per year. It’s number two with regard to rice production. China is also one of the leading exporters to the United States, being the number one provider of walnuts, mung black beans, onions and garlic to America.
Apart from agriculture, 29% of workers are involved with services, while 22% are employed in industry sectors. China’s top industry production is iron ore.
Economic Impact of China’s Labor Force
Being the number one country when it comes to the sheer numbers of the labor force, this has really helped boost its economy, in comparison to other countries. From the 1980 to 2000, its Gross Domestic growth percentage jumped to 382% from 8.1% from 1975 to 2000. This thousand-fold increase made China the best country in the world with regards to GDP growth percentage. Currently, its GDP is second amongst 163 countries, according to the CIA fact book and the Purchasing Power Parity.
Low Unemployment Rate
In comparison to other countries, China is one of the countries with the lowest unemployment rates, given its huge population. In fact, its young male and female populations, aged 15-24 years old, only have unemployment rates of 1.1% and 0.8% respectively. These figures rank the country 67th and 66th out of 77 nations. When combined, the total unemployment rate for both sexes is only 1%.
Remittances and Compensations
With an average annual remittance of about $22.5 billion dollars, China is the silver medalist with regard to the remittances and compensations received by employees, in US dollars. Not only is the local Chinese labor workforce at full blast, overseas Chinese workers in other countries are bringing home a lot of money too. The remittances from local employees and those working outside the country all combine in the bountiful cash reserves of China.
Benefits for Chinese Workers
Throughout time more and more benefits have been given to Chinese employees. One is pensions, 8% of which is deducted from the employee’s salary. Another is medical insurance, which is taken at 2% from the employee’s compensation. No contribution is required for maternity insurance and work-related injury assistance. 1% is rendered for unemployment insurance. As for the housing fund, the employers give 3-7% as a contribution.
From July 1, 2011, the government in China has implemented a new Social Insurance Law. It has three key objectives:
1. To take control over the funds that are contributed to the system.
2. To make sure that the companies do contribute properly by tightening the administration.
3. Improve the social security for the Chinese labor force.
All China Federation of Trade Unions (ACFTU)
As the only government-run union, ACFTU boasts of 170 million members, and is responsible for representing the workers and their rights. Apart from working with government-run countries, the ACTFU is also active in many foreign companies, so as to be able to protect the rights of its Chinese employees. Unfortunately, the creation of independent unions is banned in the country.