New Scientist article Students in a science school in the southern Chinese city of Wuhan have been forced to make a huge sacrifice to keep their classes open.
The students are being asked to work from home to keep up with the school year.
But they are expected to work longer hours, sometimes up to 20 hours a day.
And they are being paid far less than their peers in the US, Canada, and Japan, who are paid about $20,000 a year more than them.
But it is not just their pay that is dropping.
China has been losing talent for decades, and it is now on the verge of losing even more.
The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) says the proportion of people aged 65 and over with a job has dropped from 60 per cent in the early 1990s to 30 per cent now.
“In this decade, we have witnessed a gradual decline in the working age population, which has resulted in the retirement of many workers, especially in low-skilled industries,” says Professor Yang Xianliang, who chairs the department of economics at Tsinghua University.
“We are facing an unprecedented economic and social crisis in the country.”
What the experts are saying about China’s labour crisis and its economic reformsWhat the government is doing:The NBS says China is experiencing its worst labour crisis since the global financial crisis of 2008.
It says the labour force participation rate has dropped to 62.9 per cent.
It is the lowest rate since World War II and has dropped even more sharply in recent years.
China’s economy is growing at a slower rate than in many other countries, but the government says it is still facing “the most severe crisis in its history”.
“China is experiencing a labour crisis which has been worsened by a severe reduction in the wages and working conditions,” it said in a statement on Monday.
“China’s labour market is increasingly dominated by low-skill workers, which are more susceptible to low-wage competition from low-quality competitors and have become more vulnerable to labour-saving technologies and the effects of automation.”
Professor Yang, who has also researched the impact of technology on China’s economy, said it was clear the economy was being left behind by the global trend.
“There is a real risk of a ‘lost decade’ in China,” he said.
“As the labour market continues to be left behind, China will face further difficulties in implementing economic reforms, including a slowing of growth and inflation, and the risks of a global economic slowdown.”
“The problem of China’s growing population will be compounded by the rising pressure on the government’s fiscal resources, which will be stretched as a result of the population ageing and the cost of living rising.”
The US is also facing a huge labour crisis, and China is also on the brink of a similar one.
“The US labour market has seen its share of the working-age population decline since the recession of 2008,” says Dr David Loynes, an economist at the University of Nottingham.
“With the workforce ageing and with many fewer jobs available, the unemployment rate has been rising, and many are worried about what is happening in the job market.”
What is going on?
There are two main reasons for the decline in working hours, he said:The decline in people working full-time has been linked to a rise in the number of people being employed part-time, which means they are paid less than full-timers, but have a higher rate of unemployment.
“That means the working hours of those who have jobs have been cut in half, while the hours of people working part-timer or those who are unemployed have not changed,” he told New Scientist.
The second reason is that many people have stopped working because they have stopped paying their bills.
“They can’t afford the interest payments and they are spending more on their living costs than they have been spending in the past,” he says.
“This has led to a severe and worrying deterioration of the health of the economy, particularly in areas like food and fuel.”
These pressures have been exacerbated by the fact that many Chinese have been reluctant to take part in the government jobless benefits scheme.
“What’s happening in China?
The government is implementing the reform programme outlined by President Xi Jinping, who took office in late 2015, but many critics have accused him of being too lenient with the labour laws.”
I do not think the reform programmes will solve China’s economic problems, but they can be helpful to improve the economy’s outlook and make it more efficient,” Dr Loyns said.
The government has introduced a range of measures, from tax cuts to a relaxation of the wage floor, but these have had a mixed impact.”
Some of the measures are good, but not all of them have been effective,” Dr Zhang said.
He points to the changes to the tax system as one example.”
It was not just the increase in income tax, but also a reduction in payroll tax that