Finding a job in urban China: A comparative analysis of migrants and natives
Although migration scholars have demonstrated that migrant workers behave diffe-rently from locals when looking for jobs, past research in China’s urban labor market has pre-sented puzzling results by showing that individuals (both rural migrants and urban natives alike) predominantly rely on social networks when job searching. Using data collected by a 2008 survey in Shanghai, this study nonetheless reveals significant differences between the two groups’ job searching methods insofar as migrants are less likely to use hierarchy method to find jobs. I also show that while both migrants and urban natives often relied on network me-thod when looking for employment, the pattern of such reliance decreases over time. I suggest job search methods, particular network behavior, can be viewed as strategies that individuals employ to solve problems in their specific institutional environment, and such strategies are likely to evolve in response to the changing opportunities and incentives in the corresponding institutional segments for Chinese migrants and natives.
Aguilera MB and Massey DS. (2003). Social capital and the wages of Mexican migrants: New Hypothes-es and Tests. Social Forces, 82(2):671–701.
Bailey T and Waldinger R. (1991). Primary, secondary, and enclave labor markets: A training systems approach. American Sociological Review, 56(4): 432–445. http://dx.doi.org/10.2307/2096266
Bian Y. (1994). Guanxi and the allocation of urban jobs in China. China Quarterly, 140: 971–999. http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0305741000052863
Bian Y. (1997). Bringing strong ties back in: Indirect ties, network bridges, and job searches in China. American Sociological Review 62(3): 366–85.
Bian Y. (2002). Institutional holes and job mobility processes: Guanxi mechanisms in China's emergent labor markets. In Social Connections in China: Institutions, Culture, and the Changing Nature of Guanxi, T Gold, D Guthrie and D Wank (eds.), (pp. 117–136). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
Bian Y. (2008). Urban occupational mobility and employment institutions: Hierarchy, market, and net-works in a mixed system. In Creating Wealth and Poverty in China, D Davis and F Wang (eds.), (pp. 165–183). Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.
Bian Y and Huang X. (2009). Network resources and job mobility in China's transitional economy. In Research in the Sociology of Work, 19, L Keister (ed.), (pp. 255–282). UK: Emerald Books.
Boisot M and Child J. (1996). From fiefs to clans and network capitalism: Explaining China's emerging economic order. Administrative Science Quarterly, 41:600–628.
Cai F, Park A and Zhao Y. (2008). The Chinese labor market in the reform era. In China's Great Eco-nomic Transformation, L Brandt and T Rawski (eds.), (pp. 255–282). New York: Cambridge Uni-versity Press.
Cartier C, Castells M and Qiu J L. (2005). The information have-less: Inequality, mobility, and translocal networks in Chinese cities. Studies in Comparative International Development, 40(2): 934.
Chan K W. (2008). Internal labor migration in China: Trends, geographical distribution and policies. In United Nations Expert Group Meeting on Population Distribution, Urbanization, Internal Migration and Development Conference Proceedings, (pp. 93–122). New York: United Nations.
Chan K W and Buckingham W. (2008). Is China abolishing the hukou system? China Quarterly, 195: 582–606. http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0305741008000787
Chang K. (2011). A path to understanding guanxi in China's transitional economy: Variations on network behavior. Sociological Theory, 29(4): 315–339. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9558.2011.01401.x
Chang K, Wen M and Wang G. (2011). Social capital and work among rural-to-urban migrants in China. Asian Population Studies, 7(3): 275–293. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/17441730.2011.608989
Drever A I and Hoffmeister O. (2008). Immigrants and social networks in a job-scarce environment: The case of Germany. International Migration Review, 42(2): 425–448. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1747-7379.2008.00130.x
Fan C C. (2002). The elite, the natives, and the outsiders: Migration and labor market segmentation in urban China. Annals of the Association of American Geographers, 92(1):103–124. http://dx.doi.org/ 10.1111/1467-8306.00282
Giddens A. (1979). Central Problems in Social Theory: Action, Structure and Contradiction in Social Analysis. Berkeley and Los Angeles, CA: University of California Press.
Gold T, Guthrie D and Wank D. (2002). Social Connections in China: Institutions, Culture, and the Changing Nature of Guanxi. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
Granovetter M. (1995 ).Getting a job: A Study of Contacts and Careers. Cambridge, MA: Harvard university press.
Guang L. (2005). The state connection in China's rural-urban migration. International Migration Review, 39(2): 354–380.
Guo F and Iredale R. (2004). The impact of hukou status on migrants' employment: Findings from the 1997 Beijing migrant census. International Migration Review, 38(2): 709–731. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1747-7379.2004.tb00214.x
Guthrie D. (1997). Between markets and politics: Organizational responses to reform in China. American Journal of Sociology, 102(5): 1258–1303. http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/231084
Guthrie D. (1998). The declining significance of guanxi in China's economic transition. The China Quar-terly, 154: 254–82. http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0305741000002034
Hanser A. (2002). Youth job searches in urban China: The use of social connections in a changing labor market. In Social Connections in China: Institutions, Culture, and the Changing Nature of Guanxi, T Gold, D Guthrie & D Wank (eds.), (pp. 137–161). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
Huang X. (2008). Guanxi networks and job searches in China's Emerging labour market: A qualitative investigation. Work, Employment and Society, 22(3): 467–484. http://dx.doi.org/ 10.1177/0950017008093481
Hwang, K. (1987). Face and favor: The Chinese power game. American Journal of Sociology, 92(4): 944–974. http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/228588
Korinek K, Entwisle B and Jampaklay A. (2005). Through thick and thin: Layers of social ties and urban settlement among Thai migrants. American Sociological Review, 70(5): 779–800.
Li X, Stanton B, Fang X and Lin D. (2006). Social stigma and mental health among rural-to-urban mi-grants in China: A conceptual framework and future research needs. World Health and Population, 6: 2–18.
Lin N. (1999). Social networks and status attainment. Annual Review of Sociology, 25: 46–487. http://dx.doi.org/10.1146/annurev.soc.25.1.467
Lin N. (2003). Job search in urban China: Gender, network chains and embedded resources. In Creation and Return to Social Capital, H Flap & B Volkder (eds.), (pp. 147–171). New York: Praeger.
Marsden P V. (2001). Interpersonal ties, social capital, and employer staffing practices. In Social Capital: Theory and Research, N Lin, K Cook & R S Burt (eds.), (pp. 105–125). New York: Aldine de Gruyter.
Meng X. (2000). Labor market reform in China. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Meng X and Zhang J. (2001). The two-tier labor market in urban China: Occupational segregation and wage differentials between urban residents and rural migrants in Shanghai. Journal of Comparative Economics, 29(3): 485–504. http://dx.doi.org/10.1006/jcec.2001.1730
Oberschall A. (1996). The Great transition: China, Hungary, and sociology exit socialism into the market. American Journal of Sociology, 101(4):1028–1041.
Obukhova E. (2012). Motivation vs. relevance: Using strong ties to find a job in Urban China. Social Science Research, 41: 570–580.
Osberg L. (1993). Fishing in different pools: Job-search strategies and job-finding success in Canada in the early 1980s. Journal of Labor Economics, 11(2): 348–385. http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/298300
Pfeffer J and Salancik G. (1978). The External Control of Organizations: A Resource Dependence Pers-pective. New York, NY: Harper and Row.
Portes A. (1994). The informal economy and its paradoxes. In The Handbook of Economic Sociology, N J Smelser and R Swedberg (eds.), (pp. 426–449). Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
Roberts K D. (2001). The determinants of job choice by rural labor migrants in Shanghai. China Eco-nomic Review, 12(1):15–39. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S1043-951X(01)00041-4
Solinger D J. (2002). Labour market reform and the plight of the laid-off proletariat. China Quarterly, 170: 304–326. http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0009443902000207
Tang W and Yang Q. (2008). The Chinese urban caste system in transition. China Quarterly, 196: 759–779. http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0305741008001112
Tilly C. (1995). Popular Contention in Great Britain, 1758–1834. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Tsui M. (2002). Managing transition: Unemployment and job hunting in urban China. Pacific Affairs, 75(4): 515–534. http://dx.doi.org/10.2307/4127344
Walder A. (1986). Communist Neo-Traditionalism: Work and Authority in Chinese Industry. Berkeley: University of California Press.
Wang F, Zuo X and Ruan R. (2002). Rural migrants in Shanghai: Living under the shadow of socialism. International Migration Review, 36(2): 520–545. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1747-7379.2002.tb00091.x
Wilson K L and Portes A. (1980). Immigrant enclaves: An analysis of the labor market experiences of Cubans in Miami. American Journal of Sociology, 86(2): 295–319.
Wu X and Treiman D. (2004). The household registration system and social stratification in China, 1955–1996. Demography, vol.41(2): 363–384.
Yang M. (1994). Gifts, Favors, and Banquets: The Art of Social Relationships in China. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.
Zhang H. (2010). The Hukou system’s constraints on migrant workers’ job mobility in Chinese cities. China Economic Review, vol.21(1): 51–64. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.chieco.2009.10.002
Zhang L. (2001). Migration and privatization of space and power in late socialist China. American Eth-nologist, vol.28(1): 179–205.