Perceptions of the effectiveness of training and development of 'grey-collar' workers in the People's Republic of China

Katherine Hutchings, Jiuhua Cherrie Zhu, Brian Cooper, Yiming Zhang, Sijun Shao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


An important human resource development (HRD) implication of the People's Republic of China's (PRC) rapidly expanding economy has been the emergence of a critical shortage of grey-collar workers (GCW). Although ‘grey-collar’ has been commonly used in the West to describe an aging population within the workforce, in China it refers to people who are neither white nor blue collar workers but technicians. The shortage of GCW constrains the PRC's economic and developmental sustainability, and has been recognized in central and provincial government initiatives to increase training and development of employees within these fields. While acknowledged as a policy and organizational problem, there has been no research investigating what organizations are doing to develop these employees. Drawing upon a survey of 310 semi-skilled and skilled employees in Beijing, our findings suggest that while the surveyed organizations are investing heavily in both on- and off-the-job training, employees' perceived value of such differs markedly according to age and position. The research has important implications for China's HRD strategy in suggesting links between training and other human resource management (HRM) functions are yet to be evidenced. © 2009 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)279-296
Number of pages18
JournalHuman Resource Development International
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2009


  • Age
  • China
  • Development
  • Position
  • Technical workers
  • Training

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