Chinese factory workers are graying quickly

Chinese factory workers are graying quickly

  • Young Chinese prefer not to work in factories. China hopes robots and automation could help to counter its aging and costlier workforce.

24.6%: The percentage of Chinese factory workers that are older than 50.

China’s factory workers are aging quickly. In 2009, 12.2% of factory workers in China were aged 50 years or older. By 2019, that number had grown to 24.6%. 

At the same time, the percentage of young people – aged between 21 to 30 – fell from 35.8% to 23.1%, according to data compiled by the 21st Century Business Herald, a Chinese newspaper.

The numbers point to an economy that is shifting away from its manufacturing core and toward a service-based model.  

Furthermore, the changing demographics in Chinese manufacturing are pushing factories to employ more robots to replace workers. 

In 2015, the State Council, China’s cabinet, issued a national strategic plan called “Made in China 2025,” calling on the manufacturing sector to upgrade with robotics and automation. It also set goals to produce more high-tech products in aerospace, semiconductors and biotech.