On Wednesday, Feb. 9, the Chinese newspaper “People’s Daily” published an article in its overseas edition to encourage “flexible employment.” 

“Flexible employment” refers to those who are employed in flexible forms such as part-time, temporary, and flexible work. Flexible employment forms mainly include the following types: self-employed workers, family helpers, and other flexible employment personnel.

According to Wang He, a columnist for the Chinese-language newspaper Da Ji Yuan, “flexible employment” is just a term for the difficult employment problem in Chinese society. The Chinese government is attempting to conceal it.

According to data from China’s National Bureau of Statistics, the number of people engaged in so-called “flexible employment” in China reached 200 million at the end of last year, and the “flexible employment” rate of college graduates has exceeded 16 percent for two years in a row. 

Late last year, Chun Li, the Hong Kong reporter of Taiwan’s “Economic Daily,” predicted that in 2022, the number of people working in “flexible employment” in China might exceed 300 million. 

On Feb. 9, the Chinese government’s Guangming.com published an opinion piece titled “Young People Choose Flexible Employment Without Excessive Worry,” promoting “flexible employment” as an “active choice” for most young people and claiming that it has become an “important employment form” in China’s labor market. Xinhuanet, the official Chinese news agency, and a slew of other important Chinese portals have reprinted related articles one after the other.

Even in the face of adversity, they maintain that the situation is favorable. Official figures are frequently falsified to fulfill political goals. The Chinese government has turned to flexible employment to ferret out the lies.

Wang said China has been crying for “flexible employment” for about 20 years. According to Wang He, the problem of problematic work in China has always existed. 

Official Communist Party unemployment rates have remained at roughly 5% in recent years, but other proxy indicators and reports imply that China’s jobless situation is far worse than the official monthly figures suggest.

According to Chinese government data, 8.74 million people will graduate from colleges and universities in 2020, up 400,000 from the previous year; 9.09 million people will graduate from colleges and universities nationwide in 2021, up 350,000 from the previous year; and 10.76 million people will graduate from colleges and universities in 2022, up 1.67 million from the previous year.

Wang is an expert in this field. According to him, China’s college graduates will face an employment dilemma in 2022, which is rather severe.

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