Chinese workers are enjoying better pay and are changing jobs more often, an international human resources consultancy says.
The American company Aon Hewitt said in a report published on December 18 that the salaries of workers in the country were expected to rise 9.1 percent year on year in 2012.
Guangzhou, Shanghai, Beijing and Shenzhen led the growth in salaries for both the manufacturing and non-manufacturing sectors, the report said.
Manufacturing workers' wages would increase by 10.1 percent, 9.8 percent, 9.8 percent and 8.9 percent, respectively. Non-manufacturing sector wages would rise fastest in Beijing (9.5 percent), followed by Shanghai (9.3 percent), Guangzhou (9.1percent) and Shenzhen (8.9).
The report was based on surveys with more than 4,000 Chinese and foreign enterprises. It covered a dozen important industries, including real estate, finance, pharmaceuticals, high-tech, automobile and retail consumer goods.
Wage differences between coastal and inland cities were expected to narrow, especially for low-skill workers, such as those working on assembly lines, the report said.
This lends credence to many economists' claims that China is losing its demographic dividend, as the supply of cheap labor, mostly from inland rural areas, has declined in recent years.
The research also found that companies are having a tougher time keeping their workers. Quitting has become more common in many cities, as workers depart for higher pay at other firms.
In inland Chongqing, the rate of resignations jumped to 22.3 percent this year from 9.6 percent in 2006. The figure in Nanjing, a city near Shanghai, was 19.4 percent, up from 2006's 7.3 percent.
Fast rising salaries were not a temporary phenomenon and would continue for years, the report said, meaning businesses would have to improve productivity to remain competitive.