Au­thor­i­ties work­ing on plan to de­lay re­tire­ments

Job prospects of young un­af­fected but pen­sions will grow, ex­perts say

China Daily (USA) - - CHINA - By ZHAO XINYING zhaoxiny­ing@chi­nadaily.com.cn

China’s top hu­man re­sources and so­cial se­cu­rity author­ity is work­ing on a plan to de­lay re­tire­ments in re­sponse to a shrink­ing work­ing-age pop­u­la­tion.

The work­ing-age pop­u­la­tion is ex­pected to drop to 700 mil­lion by 2050, a “sharp de­cline” from the es­ti­mated 830 mil­lion in 2030, said Li Zhong, spokesman of theMin­istry ofHu­man Re­sources and So­cial Se­cu­rity, at a news con­fer­ence on Fri­day.

“Data re­leased by the Na­tional Bureau of Sta­tis­tics show that this pop­u­la­tion has been in de­cline since it peaked at 925 mil­lion in 2011,” Li said, adding that the idea of re­vis­ing the cur­rent re­tire­ment age and de­lay­ing re­tire­ment was floated against that back­drop.

Ac­cord­ing to Li, the govern­ment will grad­u­ally im­ple­ment new re­tire­ment poli­cies na­tion­wide, rather than quickly ap­ply­ing them to all peo­ple at once.

“The re­vised poli­cies will first ap­ply to peo­ple who are sup­posed to be re­tir­ing at a com­par­a­tively early age un­der cur­rent rules, be­fore they are extended to more peo­ple across the coun­try,” he said.

Li said the min­istry was work­ing on pol­icy specifics, and that reg­u­la­tions would be open to pub­lic feed­back be­fore they are for­mally re­leased and im­ple­mented.

Post­pon­ing re­tire­ment has been con­tro­ver­sial since the idea was raised sev­eral years ago, as many peo­ple were con­cerned about the ef­fects of any re­vised poli­cies. Some wor­ried that it would af­fect young peo­ple’s job prospects, es­pe­cially in a slow­ing econ­omy with a younger gen­er­a­tion in need of jobs.

Li said de­layed re­tire­ment would not have an ad­verse ef­fect on young peo­ple’s em­ploy­ment, as there is an in­creas­ingly ag­ing Chi­nese pop­u­la­tion. Shrink­age of the work­ing-age pop­u­la­tion means there will be more, not fewer, job op­por­tu­ni­ties await­ing the young, he said.

“In ad­di­tion, de­layed re­tire­ment will be im­ple­mented mainly in some tra­di­tional sec­tors such as man­u­fac­tur­ing, while young peo­ple pre­fer jobs in emerg­ing in­dus­tries like e-com­merce, which means the two sides will not col­lide,” Li said.

Zheng Dongliang, di­rec­tor of the min­istry’s In­sti­tute of La­bor Sci­ence, said de­layed re­tire­ment will be good news, as it will make full use of China’s hu­man re­sources.

The length of em­ploy­ment in China is shrink­ing, as peo­ple spend more years get­ting an ed­u­ca­tion, and so­ci­ety loses some re­sources as a re­sult, he said.

“Un­der such cir­cum­stances, de­layed re­tire­ment means that peo­ple will have more time work­ing, so that they can cre­ate more wealth to make a pros­per­ous so­ci­ety,” Zheng said. “And in­di­vid­u­als can get a higher pen­sion af­ter re­tire­ment. The de­layed re­tire­ment poli­cies will ben­e­fit both sides.”

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