Nearly 80% of China’s White-Collar Workers Receive No Promotion in 2016

January 13, 20178:35 am
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White-collar workers in China are not satisfied with either their work or personal lives in 2016 due to limited promotion opportunities, lack of vacations and disappointing sex life. This is according to findings released by White-Collar Worker Satisfaction Index Report 2016 released by Zhaopin, a career platform in China focused on connecting users with relevant job opportunities.

The survey was conducted to gauge the satisfaction levels of white-collar workers in China with respect to both their personal and professional life in 2016.  The satisfaction at work was measured by salary, welfare, training, promotion, and interpersonal relationship. The satisfaction in personal lives was measured by physical well-being, sex life, reading, vacation, family time, and psychological well-being. More than 12,000 white-collar workers participated in the survey.

The low satisfaction levels reflect on the employees’ high expectations from both work and life. The survey results can be a good reference point for employers to improve their talent management strategies and policies.

Key findings:

  • White-collar workers in China had low satisfaction with both their work and personal lives in 2016, with a satisfaction index of 2.33 for work and 2.34 for life (measured from 0 to 5, with 5 as the highest).
  • For work, white-collar workers were most dissatisfied with promotion opportunities in 2016, with a satisfaction index reading of 1.86. Nearly 80 percent of survey respondents did not get a promotion.
  • White-collar workers with an average monthly salary of more than RMB25,000 were most satisfied with their jobs, while workers with a salary below RMB2,000 were least satisfied with their jobs.
  • In their personal lives, white-collar workers were most dissatisfied with their sexual activity level for the fourth consecutive year. More than half of respondents had sex less than once a month in 2016.
  • Almost 40 percent of white-collar workers did not take any vacation in 2016. Only 15.5 percent believed promotion was based on personal efforts, while 40.4 percent attributed promotion to company policies.
Breakdown of promotions in 2016
Percentage Details
6.91% Promoted to mid-level and senior management positions
2.88% Promoted to senior technical positions
11.43% Promoted to junior management positions
11.10% Almost got promoted
63.40% No promotion opportunities
4.28% Did not want promotions
Reasons concerning promotions in 2016
Reason Percentage
Company policies 40.4%
High opinion by colleagues and bosses 17.6%
Personal efforts 15.5%
Others 26.5%

See: Top 10 Talent Trends in China for 2017

Promotion is an important consideration when white-collar workers change their jobs, according to Zhaopin experts. They have high expectations for promotions and salary increases. If they are not promoted in an organisation after working for one to two years, most people will consider new job opportunities.

White-collar workers with more accumulated work experience were more rational with their jobs, and tended to have higher satisfaction. Newly-graduated employees with less than one year experience, disillusioned by reality, had the lowest job satisfaction.

Of the 34 cities surveyed by Zhaopin, white-collar workers in some emerging first-tier cities and second-tier cities, including Guiyang, Jinan, Dalian, Foshan, Wuxi and Suzhou enjoyed high job satisfaction. With fast economic growth, these cities offer better job opportunities, relatively low living costs and less competition and pressure compared with first-tier cities.

All four first-tier cities (Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen) were not among the top 10 cities in job satisfaction.

2016 work satisfaction index by cities
Ranking City Index Ranking City Index
1 Guiyang 2.90 18 Hefei 2.27
2 Jinan 2.72 19 Xi’an 2.26
3 Dalian 2.71 20 Kunming 2.25
4 Foshan 2.58 21 Zhengzhou 2.24
5 Wuxi 2.57 22 Changchun 2.19
6 Suzhou 2.55 23 Changsha 2.19
7 Hangzhou 2.54 24 Chongqing 2.16
8 Tianjin 2.53 25 Guangzhou 2.16
9 Chengdu 2.47 26 Shijiazhuang 2.14
10 Wuhan 2.47 27 Nanchang 2.13
11 Taiyuan 2.47 28 Shenyang 2.12
12 Beijing 2.45 29 Yantai 2.07
13 Shanghai 2.43 30 Fuzhou 2.04
14 Qingdao 2.43 31 Nanning 2.03
15 Xiamen 2.37 32 Dongguan 2.01
16 Shenzhen 2.31 33 Harbin 1.83
17 Nanjing 2.28 34 Ningbo 1.60

Sex life had been ranked the lowest in satisfaction by white-collar workers for four consecutive years. More than half of them had sex less than once a month, the survey found. Frequency of sex is not the only factor to evaluate sex quality, but it is a very important factor.

Satisfaction in sex life was also highly related with income, Zhaopin found in the survey. For employees with monthly salary below RMB2,000, their satisfaction with sex was only 0.88, compared with 2.52 for white-collar workers with monthly salary over RMB25,000.

Most companies offer annual leave and vacation for employees. However, some companies asked employees to take vacations only when they were not busy with work. Some white-collar workers gave up their vacations voluntarily to keep their competitiveness in career development. Working overtime has become a routine for many white-collar workers and more than 40 percent of them have no time for workouts in 2016.

About 35.7 percent of white-collar workers did not read any books in 2016. Employees born in the 1990s had the lowest satisfaction in reading. They preferred to get information from alternative channels instead of reading. White-collar workers born in the 1970s and 1980s had more need for reading.

Also read: Dwindling Pool of Blue-Collar Workers Hurts Manufacturing Sector in China