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Chinese workers unhappy with jobs

By Wang Huazhong  (China Daily)

13:13, July 10, 2012

Chinese workers are among the least likely in Asia to say their jobs are ideal, despite China having one of the region's lowest unemployment rates, a report by an international research company has found.

A survey conducted by management consultancy Gallup Inc in 2011, the results of which were released last week, has found only 49 percent of Chinese workers think their job is the "ideal" one for them.

Compared with Chinese workers, only Vietnamese workers are less satisfied with their work, with a mere 48 percent saying they have the ideal job, putting them in last place for job satisfaction on a list of 22 Asian economies.

The survey found job expectation in China remains high, despite figures from the National Bureau of Statistics showing the unemployment rate in China's urban areas in 2011 was 4.1 percent.

"These findings suggest that providing an adequate number of jobs in China alone is not enough to fulfill the career expectations of its workforce, or to sustain and grow a productive labor pool," said the report.

"This likely means that many Chinese workers will not be looking for just any job, but for a great job - one that offers a good workplace where they can use their unique talents," it said.

Concerns have been raised about the high expectations of Chinese job seekers, with several recent incidents highlighting the extreme pressures placed on well-educated students with master's degrees or doctorates unable to find work.

In October 2009, a graduate student who had been unemployed for over a year jumped off a building of China West Normal University with his degree certificate in his arms. He died on the scene.

Du Hanqi, a psychologist with MindCare Counseling Service in Beijing, said job seekers' views of value have changed as the market becomes increasingly competitive in the fast-growing economy.

"Years ago, people were willing to build their career gradually from a low starting point," Du said.

The psychologist said increased peer pressure meant graduates were looking for high-powered jobs without working their way up the career ladder.

The Gallup report is based on face-to-face and telephone interviews with 4,220 adults in China and approximately 1,000 adults in every other economy.

On the top of the list of Asian countries with high job satisfaction was Laos, where 90 percent of people say they have the ideal job.

Laos is followed by the Philippines, where 81 percent of people think they have the ideal job. And in Nepal the figure is 80 percent.

Labor experts said a relatively small sample pool was used in the survey and the results were questionable, and 49 percent could still be seen as a positive rate of job satisfaction.

Zhang Yi, an expert from the Institute of Population and Labor Economics at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said different cultural backgrounds in different economies at various stages of development make the figures less comparable. He said to assess job satisfaction, many factors must be considered.

"Half of our 700 million working people feeling their job is ideal is still a positive number," he said.

Liu Junsheng, a senior researcher at the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security, said people from Laos and Nepal would have limited job choices and were therefore more likely to feel their job was ideal than in China where there was more choice.

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