China's “Labour Shortage” and Migrant Workers' Lack of Social Security

TitleChina's “Labour Shortage” and Migrant Workers' Lack of Social Security
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2014
AuthorsWang, Zhikai
JournalInternational Labour Review
Pagination649 - 658
Date Published2014
KeywordsChina, labor shortage, productivity, rural migration, social security, workers’ rights

Since 2004, the massive flow of surplus rural labour in China has dried up; indeed, the country's eastern coastal region is currently experiencing a “labour shortage”. This phenomenon, which is bound up with China's ongoing economic and social development, has arisen because migrant workers have little or no social security in China. Rather than a labour shortage, there is in fact still a huge rural labour surplus. If the system governing migrant workers' social security and labour rights were improved, this could ease the apparent labour shortage and solve firms' employment problems, thereby increasing productivity and supporting China's long-term economic growth.