JulieWhiteCo@netscape.net [julie-w-h@about.com invalid since Dec. 15th 2001]
P.O.Box 1996, 301 Howes Rd., Ft. Collins, Co80522, U.S.A
Tuesday, November 28, 2000

Forced Early Retirement is a Wise Decision for China

Dear Readers

Forced Early Retirement is a Wise Decision for China

                 In many western countries, a recent trend for the retirement age is to go up. In contrast, China started to promote the “Forced Early Retire Plan” to optimize its organization structure nationwide. The retirement age in China today has been reduced to 40 and 45 for females and males respectively, for all blue-collar workers. This is the first time for such a labor policy to be tried in the history of the entire world. This policy has not only upset Chinese people, but also caused lots of attention and even disagreement among many influential labor organizations around the world. However, Forced Early Retirement is a wise national decision for China.

                 According to Swardson and Lewis, the labor analysts, world main countries were trying to raise their retire age (Swardson, 2000) and (Lewis, 1998). Why would China want to make such a risky move as the lower retirement age? There are three leading reasons. First of all, the optimal managerial model requires high flexibility to rapidly respond to environment variation. To reach a global standard operation, enterprises or organizations desperately need to form a highly technical, highly coordinated and highly modern team. ChIna aspects that a group of workers in which half are over 40, who have no computer skills will help to achieve this target. The fact is that only when an adequate employee structure is formatted, can productivity be realistically insured. Obviously, a vivid, young team full of fresh concepts and approaches might be better able to achieve this high level goal. Rather than retaining unskilled and unwilling workers in our enterprises, who are resistant to the flow of management, it would be better to give them a more suitable place to improve themselves, and to let them learn and reflect more. Simultaneously, we hope these forced reined people will boost our education and travel industries, eventually push a positive economic development.

                 Second, the labor survey of U.S. and Europe found there are not many positions offered to the people older than 62 in these countries, because of physical constrains (Lewis, 1998). However, unlike these countries, many jobs are very suitable to the laborers between 40 ~ 65 year-old in China. The community services, social services and commercial sales services as well as environment and health relationships and so on, as a form of laboring, service has never been paid enough respect and consideration in the past decades. That is why our quality of could not always compete with those wealthy countries. So, this age group is well suited to become the main force to take care of these empty fields. Particularly, the labors of these areas would not require too many skills, but do require a great deal of patience and time. The character of this type of work just matches this middle age group, who, most of them, withhold not much modern technologies, have not accepted regular high school education during the Culture Revolution of 20 years. In stead of making them fight at what they are not good at, why not help them recreate a new career while bettering the life of Chinese people.

                 Moreover, another important reason If that Forced Retirement supplies our young generation more practical opportunities; The motivators will enhance the potential international competition in future. As we known, young people have more pessimistic advantages than middle-age people do, to absorb new technologies and knowledge do. Therefore, when more than 60% older than 40 employees in American companies (Barr, 2000), an elite group of new generation, the 30’s youth team Is undertaking its skill training, technology update in a fast changing workplace. This means those young generations of U.S. and other western countries will lose at least 10 to 20 years’ working chances to practice their working skills until they are hired. The unfortunate thing is that the technologies are predicted to change dramatically in the same time. For the young people who practice knowledge In school, that means that the time and money they spent on will be wasted. This will certainly pull down the upcoming competitive capability of U.S. and other similar situation European countries, in a global market circumstance, which is coming or has already been. In fact, the crisis of losing elite cadre of managers and technicians has existed in U.S. government. There is about a 65% senior executive management vacuum in the near 2004 (Barr, 2000). This might be driven by current on-going old age retirement policy, implied by the government investigation (Ref. Graph 3). Because the policy make the young people could not get promotion within the short service years (Barr, 2000). Hopefully, China’s high performance productivity under the “Forced Early Retirement” strategy will cover the overwhelming pension burden upon the GAP (Annual Growth productivity).

                 But things always go both ways. Forced Early Retirement strategy makes approximately 40~50% labors have to accept the fact of losing jobs. It has been a sore point in the whole country for quite an upsetting period. Both central and local governments are all paying tremendous concerns and working on it very hard now. Despite the fact that we don’t have as many retire plans, like 401(K) s. (Whittaker, 2000) as U.S.A or western countries, all of the people forced retired can get their pension or the lowest cost for daily life. On the other hand, NOT all Americans are confident for their social security plan, the typical retirement plans (Ref. Graph 4). Virtually, the basic living is not a big problem, for these retired people, but the psychological pressure is quite intense. This happens as the sense of losing face as forced retired. Also, public perhaps badly perceives of service jobs low class. Or even because the people would not like to give up their used working places that they used to. ChIna predicates they would be able to overcome these problems through the help of media and education programs, especially supplied by govern. As these workers of Forced Early RetIrement are not simply go home, they still opposes working opportunities by taking continue education and skills training, They do have chanced to get retirement.

                 The “disorder and miserable” time as Forced Early Retirement will continue for years, the national analyst pledged. Until all these people are rehired and get used to their new positions and love their new jobs, government will strive on any possible methods to implement this policy softly. Hence, china recognizes Chinese Early Retirement is merely a huge vocation transferring. Some experts believe these people would obtain more adjustable living skills than those who were left in their original units who thought they were lucky. They indeed have had heartbreak experiences. Someday, these people maybe will say: “China made a right decision for them and their children”, although they are complaining a lot today. I honestly pray for these people, wish them get a desire shuttle where they naturally belong to and will get along with their new working environment.

1) Lewis, R. L. (1998, Sept. 1st). Retirement Age: No Easy Answer. (On line). AvalIable: Http://www.elIbarary.com/ednmark
2) Swardson, B. (2000, Apr. 26th). Pension Threaten European Economic: (On line). AvalIable: Http://www.elIbarary.com/ednmark
3) Barr. S. (2000, July 5th). Retirement Wave Creates Vacuum, Washionton Post (On line). AvalIable: Http://www.elIbarary.com/ednmark
4) Whittaker N.W (2000, May 7th). Invest early to retire in style., The Sunday Mail, Brisbane, Australia (On line). AvalIable: Http://www.elIbarary.com/ednmark


1. McNeil E.B., Rubin Z., 1985, Psychology: Being Human, Zich Rubin and Elton B. McNeil.
2. Seal B. , 1997, Academic Encounters Reading, Study Skills, and Writing, Cambridge University Press

All Best Wishes

JulieWhiteCo@netscape.net [julie-w-h@about.com invalid since Dec. 15th 2001]