• 3.7




Key drivers

Overall Wage Pressure (1.9)

This year the growth in economy-wide wages is forecast to fall to its lowest rate since the turn of the millennium.

Wage Pressure in High-Skill Industries (4.4)

Workers in high-skill industries – in particular scientific activities – experienced strong wage growth last year, widening the wage gap from those workers in low-skill industries.

Talent Mismatch (4.1)

The vacancy rate fell slightly in China. This suggests employers are more able to find workers with the right skills.


Education Flexibility


Labour Market Participation


Labour Market Flexibility


Talent Mismatch


Overall Wage Pressure


Wage Pressure in High-Skill Industries


Wage Pressure in High-Skill Occupation


Simon Lance

Managing Director, Hays Greater China

View from the Ground

In recent years, China’s local labour market has increasingly been able to meet the hiring demands of employers, represented over the past five years by a steadily decreasing Overall Index Score. However, there are exceptions to this trend, where skills shortages have the potential to hamper business operations: these are typically within high-tech sectors and STEM job functions. In addition, employers are becoming more selective in their hiring decisions, and focusing greater attention on soft skills, culture fit and aptitude for ongoing learning. Various new technologies and heightened consumer expectations continue to bring about unparalleled changes across retail banking, which indicates transformation within the sector is far from complete.

Simon Lance, Managing Director, Hays Greater China

Key Skills in Demand

  • Data Scientists
  • Clinical Physicians
  • eCommerce Managers
  • Senior Engineers – R&D
  • Digital Finance Experts

Market Insight

China’s economy continued to grow rapidly, expanding by 6.6% in 2018. Some 60% of the growth in GDP came from the service sector. An expansion in economic output by the mining and quarrying, manufacturing, utilities, and construction sectors was responsible for 36% of the GDP growth and agriculture, forestry and fishing the remaining 4%.

In 2018, employment remained virtually unchanged. This masked a 2.3% or 9.6 million rise in the numbers employed in urban areas. This mostly offset a 2.9% or 10.1 million decline in rural employment. This continues the long-term trend of urbanisation. The unemployment rate based on the numbers of registered unemployed fell by 0.1 percentage points to 3.9%. The survey-based measure of unemployment for urban areas suggested the urban unemployment rate was slightly higher at 4.9%