Want to know how America’s Gen Zers are really doing? Board a quick 14-hour flight, and see what’s happening in China. Young adults there are dealing with an extreme version of the same issue plaguing America’s TikTok generation: looking for a well-paying job that lives up to their expectations. Traveling for a stable and well-paying white-collar job has become a dreary affair on a medieval quest, a recruitment process that takes months and multiple rounds of interviews only to end up with multiple rejections. A bigger problem than the dystopian job application process, however, is the disconnect between what young people want and what their leaders are willing to give them. Result in China? A youth unemployment crisis of epic proportions, where one in five people between the ages of 16 and 24 are out of work, according to the National Bureau of Statistics via Bloomberg wall street journal,
There are a lot of problems with the grunt work of blue-collar manufacturing. Government officials in both countries are pushing young workers to take these jobs, only to find themselves in a similar bind; Whether it is the stigma surrounding these jobs or the lack of change in pay or working conditions, Gen Z is not looking at the offer so keenly. The problem for government officials, however, is that they depend on workers in these blue-collar roles to, you know, keep buildings from collapsing, put produce or food on the table, and provide an increasingly consumer-driven culture with those shoes. For , gifts, or whatever TikTok says they need next.
This has even greater implications for the world economy, as China became the “factory of the world” when it entered the WTO in the late 1990s. Older millennials and Gen Xers can look back to a time where “Made in the USA” was written in smaller font on most toys and consumer products. But Gen Z lives in a world where almost everything says “Made in China”. Now, some Chinese Gen Zers are saying it’s another country’s turn to make the stuff.
Taking a closer look at the economic data, the unemployment rate for young adults in China reached a record 20.4%, compared to only 6.5% in the US. experts told magazine That a growing number of China’s Gen Zers are leaving school and seeking higher-wage and higher-skill jobs, and the country doesn’t have enough positions to meet demand. it leaves these young adults in a waiting for Godot The position, looking for jobs that just aren’t coming, while some are lowering their job or salary expectations, is still to be met with stiff competition. As Samuel Beckett once said, “It’s awful.”
The old schedule in China’s tech sector was known as 996, or working from 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m., six days a week. Wow. But during 2021, workers won a case that declared it illegal to demand such intense labor from employees. The pendulum has swung slightly the other way, as “lying” gains traction as a term and practice in China, where employees do what is necessary to get the job done, nothing more or less and certainly 996 no. Something similar happened around the world, as young workers in the US worked on their paychecks, or quietly quit. Both countries have experienced widely reported burnout over the years; In China, it gained another phrase—involution—as many young workers reported disenchantment with the hustle culture.
“I see lying as a silent rebellion against a culture of more pressure,” said Zak Dichtwald, CEO of the consultancy Young China Group. fate’s Grady McGregor. Both Chinese and American Gen Zers are trying to re-invent work, emphasizing the importance of work-life balance and good pay, but the job market and economy are not keeping up with their needs.
Projected by PEW as the most educated generation, Gen Z is leaving school only to be met with an economy that doesn’t always have the jobs they expected and government demands to fill service and manufacturing roles. Facing the heat, the Chinese authorities have tried to encourage companies to hire more graduates, encourage workers to take the said jobs with advertisements for stable and meaningful service jobs, and recruit new grads. sent a hopeful message to: lower your expectations.
Getting a job in an age of low expectations
Back in the States, the youth aren’t doing so much better. The government wants only one thing for Christmas – more blue-collar workers, as many older workers in the country’s aging workforce are retiring. To make matters more difficult, there is already a shortage in the industry. According to the Chamber of Commerce, over the years, jobs that require being in-person and that don’t offer high wages have had a harder time keeping employees. Which is to say, without decent pay, many young and old are left looking for something that will keep them afloat amid high inflation.
Part of Biden’s platform was that he was an average Joe coming from middle-class roots, and was elected to help middle-class workers. Part of his promised plan was to boost blue-collar work, something he recently found some benefit from, despite the widespread difficulty in hiring for the growing number of jobs. “Jobs are coming back, pride is coming back, because of the choices we have made in the last two years. This is the blue-collar blueprint for rebuilding America and making real difference in your life,” Biden asserted at February’s State of the Union.
Gen Z’s desire for decent salaries in America is fueled by graduating from degrees that come with high price tags to deal with, excessive student debt and economic instability. Applications for full-time tech jobs are down 47% from 10 applicants per job before the pandemic to 5.3 applications today, according to data from student jobs platform Handshake. Luck, But with Biden at work creating a blue-collar boom, the cup is tipped over when it comes to standing positions in more than 45,000 tech job listings, according to Handshake. This is a 7% increase in tech jobs during the previous year from 2021 to 2022.
While there may be a reason to leave jobs that are not paying enough for the labor employed, blue-collar jobs are changing slightly, and the nature of white-collar jobs in America is changing entirely. Blue-collar jobs can sometimes provide stable and adequate pay; Data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that the median wage for carpenters was around $50,000 and for farmers in the $70,000s. It’s an option that hasn’t been encouraged until recently, as the pipeline in both China and the US is to go to school and then go to more school and then get a job (which I never found according to Silhouettes). Perceptions about blue-collar work have been made in this country that depend on said labor, and it’s a mess that needs to be sorted out.
“We have this stigma with working with our hands that it means you have less brain. Not at all,” Rob Sommerfeld, co-founder of the National Center for Craftsmanship, told Axios.
As America grows increasingly concerned about its less-than-robust manufacturing skills (as evidenced by its many labor shortages over the past few years), Biden has begun investing in manufacturing, taking one from China’s book. Industry by pouring money into emerald expansion, and also announcing plans to create degree-free, well-paying jobs.
And these days, the jobs young graduates are so desperately seeking are undergoing layoffs and effectively disappearing after the tech boom. These jobs were increasingly valued for their flexibility and good pay, something that is no longer true, as companies bring people back and entry-level jobs do not offer wages that match the cost of living. compete with.
What’s more, the field is going through an upswing when it comes to artificial intelligence. While manufacturing has already been impacted by AI, Handshake points out that there is some security there. “Business/skilled jobs have the potential to be relatively safe from the advances made in AI,” a spokesperson said, citing the Microsoft CTO’s comments about how jobs such as engineering will always be essential. Like a rom-com, the answer may be right in front of us, just a few tweaks are needed, the moment to take off the glasses is coming when the authorities offer better pay and more respect. Blue-collar work has become more attractive, as it provides a less volatile option that increasingly provides good pay and experiences higher wage benefits than white-collar work in the post-pandemic market (to be fair, For, there is a possibility of starting on a lower salary) ).
Finally, it appears as though difficult finances and a white-collar recession have caused young adults in America to grab the manufacturing carrot that the government is dangling in front of them faster than their peers in China. As Kristen Lucas, an associate professor at the University of Louisville’s College of Business, told Business Insider, “People are taking a good look at the rising cost of college tuition, the less security offered by white-collar jobs. And suddenly white-collar jobs don’t seem so luxurious in comparison.