Pes­simism can’t cloud sil­ver lin­ing for econ­omy

China Daily (Canada) - - LIFE -

China’s slow­ing econ­omy has ex­ac­er­bated the gloomy sen­ti­ment about the world’s most pop­u­lated mar­ket and sparked wor­ries about mas­sive job losses amid po­ten­tial com­pany col­lapses and loan de­faults. But I firmly be­lieve that this pes­simism has been over­done.

Eco­nomic growth is slow­ing, but a year-on-year ex­pan­sion of about 7 per­cent, or even slightly lower than that, is very pos­i­tive in a global con­text. A re­cent sur­vey by re­cruit­ing ex­pert­sHays has not only pro­vided a snap­shot of China’s eco­nomic sta­tus, but also added weight to the bullish out­look amid the coun­try’s huge growth po­ten­tial.

TheHays Global Skills In­dex 2015, de­vel­oped in con­junc­tion with Ox­ford Eco­nom­ics, showed China scored 4.7 points, 0.3 per­cent­age point down from 2014. China’s slowly de­creas­ing over­all in­dex (5.0 in 2014) sug­gests that em­ploy­ers are pro­gres­sively find­ing it eas­ier to source the skilled la­bor they need for their op­er­a­tions.

How­ever, a deeper look into the seven in­di­ca­tors that com­prise this in­dex, show that em­ploy­ers still face real chal­lenges in man­ag­ing their hu­man re­sources. The in­di­ca­tor for “over­all wage pres­sure” (7.5) sends out a loud mes­sage: the Chi­nese em­ploy­ment mar­ket is still fac­ing a short­age of skilled work­ers with em­ploy­ers pre­pared to use salary to com­pete for the top tal­ent.

Our (Hays’) re­search also found that China is grap­pling with se­vere la­bor mar­ket in­flex­i­bil­ity. There are signs that im­prove­ments are on the way, as with pol­i­cy­mak­ers re­vis­it­ing some vo­ca­tional cer­ti­fi­ca­tions and aim­ing to re­duce the con­straints on tal­ent move­ment be­tween in­dus­tries, uti­liz­ing their trans­fer­able skills and en­cour­ag­ing a more ac­tive, fair and com­pet­i­tive job mar­ket.

None­the­less, the prospect for sta­ble eco­nomic growth in China re­mains bright, buoyed by the new­growth en­gine which the govern­ment is striv­ing to cre­ate. The Chi­nese lead­er­ship’s “newnor­mal” strat­egy— re­ly­ing on strong con­sumer spend­ing and young­sters’ en­ter­pris­ing spirit to sus­tain a slower but health­ier growth— is more than just ver­bal sup­port.

The cen­tral plank of the ef­fort is to urge a wide ap­pli­ca­tion of In­ter­net tech­nolo­gies to en­hance busi­ness ef­fi­ciency or cre­ate cus­tomer-friendly trans­ac­tion mod­els, aim­ing to re­drawthe coun­try’s com­mer­cial land­scape. Ac­cord­ing to a re­port by iRe­search, China’s lead­ing mar­ket re­search com­pany fo­cus­ing on in­for­ma­tion tech­nol­ogy, 47 en­ter­prises in the coun­try now sport the tag of “uni­corns”, or un­listed In­ter­net com­pa­nies which are val­ued at no less than $1 bil­lion. It’s just a mat­ter of time be­fore the up­com­ing In­ter­net gi­ants be­gin gen­er­at­ing mil­lions of newjobs.

It’s safe to say that China has al­ready be­come a fron­trun­ner in de­vel­op­ing the on­line-to-off­line model world­wide as the use of mo­bile tech­nol­ogy in the coun­try is ahead of any other mar­ket around the globe.

It’s true that China is los­ing its com­pet­i­tive edge in la­bor-in­ten­sive man­u­fac­tur­ing sec­tors to some emerg­ing economies, but awave of in­no­va­tive tech­nol­ogy com­pa­nies could even­tu­ally off­set the loss of jobs amid re­lo­ca­tion of pro­duc­tion fa­cil­i­ties abroad. The In­ter­net gi­ants could usher in a com­plete chain of busi­nesses, all the way from ware­hous­ing, de­liv­ery and af­ter-sales ser­vices to pay­ment. Newjobs are cre­ated in tan­dem with the ex­pan­sion of on­line busi­ness em­pires. In fact, a trans­for­ma­tion of the busi­ness model could lead to a tem­po­rary prob­lem of tal­ent mis­match that was re­flected in theHays Global Skills In­dex which awarded China a rel­a­tively high score of 4.9. There are no quick fixes in tan­dem with the tran­si­tional pe­riod when em­ploy­ees, job seek­ers and busi­nesses are ex­pe­ri­enc­ing some changes never seen be­fore any­where.

We pro­pose some rec­om­men­da­tions for pol­i­cy­mak­ers, em­ploy­ers and in­ter­na­tional or­ga­ni­za­tions: The first is to en­able more and eas­ier skilled mi­gra­tion to al­low busi­nesses to ac­cess work­ers with key skills. Se­cond, it is nec­es­sary to en­sure bet­ter train­ing for em­ploy­ees and closer col­lab­o­ra­tion with schools, univer­si­ties and tech­ni­cal col­leges to de­liver the skills’ pipe­line of the fu­ture. And fi­nally, busi­nesses must be en­cour­aged to em­brace tech­nol­ogy and max­i­mize the skills at their dis­posal.

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