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Educated labor force Updated: 2019-03-16

Adequate labor force

As of the end of 2018, China's total population came to 1.39 billion and the working-age population (aged from 16-59) reached nearly 9 million, accounting for 64 percent of the total population.

Although the labor force proportion has slightly declined, the overall labor force population has been on the rise in recent years. The demographic dividend is still evident and labor costs are relatively low.

High-quality workforce

China’s average educational years of the new labor force now exceeds 13.3 years, which is equivalent to the first year of college education.

In 2018, there were a total of 2,663 general institutes of higher education in China and 38.33 million undergraduates in various forms of higher education. From 2010 to 2018, the number of college graduates nationwide increased on a yearly basis, and the total number of graduates reached 65.26 million. In 2019, the number of college graduates in China hit a new record of 8.34 million. These graduates have become the main force of China's new labor force.

Research and innovation capabilities

In 2017, China was ranked as the world's 17th most-innovative economy as the country's economic strength, investment in science and technology and personnel training have been catching up with that of the advanced nations.

The R&D expenditure for 2018 reached 1.96 trillion yuan ($283.46 billion), an increase of 11.6 percent over the previous year. The expenditure accounted for 2.18 percent of the GDP, which was above average of the EU-15. As of 2017, China's R&D personnel reached 6.21 million, ranking first in the world for the fifth consecutive year. China has gradually become a major country of high-tech human resources.

China's invention patent applications have been ranked the highest in the world since 2011, reaching 1.54 million in 2018. The number of invention patents owned by individuals and organizations on the Chinese mainland reached 1.6 million by the end of 2018, which means there are 11.5 patents for every 10,000 people.