Tropical Geography ›› 2020, Vol. 40 ›› Issue (5): 821-831.doi: 10.13284/j.cnki.rddl.003265

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Generational Differences in Employment Structure and Its Determinants of the Floating Population of the Pearl River Delta: Based on a Survey of Six Cities

Xiaofei Zhang1(), Guojun Zhang2, Chunshan Zhou1()   

  1. 1.School of Geography and Planning, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou 510275, China
    2.School of Public Administration, Guangdong University of Finance and Economics, Guangzhou 510320, China
  • Received:2019-12-28 Revised:2020-05-13 Online:2020-09-28 Published:2020-10-10
  • Contact: Chunshan Zhou;


Based on a questionnaire survey data of the floating population in six cities in the Pearl River Delta, this paper dynamically divides the generations of the floating population according to the socio-economic background of the birth and growth. The new generation, born after 1988, grew up in the process of following their parents out to work away from their hometown, and was significantly affected by the digital information age. The middle generation, born from 1978 to 1988, is the older group of the new generation, and its demographic characteristics and growth era have transitional properties. The older generation was born before 1978, in consistent with the range of the first generation of migrants. The three generations are compared from the perspective of occupational structure and diversity. The disorderly multi-class Logistic model is used to explore the influencing factors of the occupational system. Based on the results, we establish the following: 1) The overall employment level of the floating population in the Pearl River Delta is not high. Here, as the generation shifts downward, employment becomes more diversified. 2) There are significant differences in the characteristics of the three generations of the floating population. From the old generation to the new generation, the sex ratio tends to be balanced, and the proportion of single floating population increases, in addition, working experience is reduced while education level is improved. The degree of job security and monthly salary show an "inverted U-shaped" intergenerational distribution. 3) The overall floating population is concentrated in services and manufacturing, and low-end service, production, construction employment are the most common employment options. The new generation has advantages in technical jobs and corporate clerical profession. The middle generation employment in different industries is relatively balanced, and managerial employment is relatively high. The older generation is mostly confined to the basic sector dominated by manual labor. 4) There are similarities and differences in the influencing factors of the intergenerational occupational structure. The common factors are education, monthly salary, and gender. The time spent working away from hometown has a positive impact on the service-oriented and management-oriented employment of the new generation. Occupations with a stable working environment are more attractive to the married new generation, and the middle generation is more sensitive to household registration and job security factors. 5) To improve the employment status of the floating population, this paper discusses the population employment policy: On one hand, facing different intergenerational employment characteristics, the new, middle, and old generations are supplemented with guiding, encouraging, and supportive employment policies. On the other hand, focusing on influencing factors, the government should continue to promote the reform of the household registration system, support the development of education, and guide women's employment and self-employment. 6) The article made a new attempt to classify the original intergenerational classification, which improved the timeliness of the intergenerational division of the floating population. But the study is limited to a specific time section. In the future, previous employment experience and future employment desire of the floating population can be taken into consideration to enhance the continuity and pertinence of intergenerational employment research.

Key words: occupational structure, floating population, intergenerational, the Pearl River Delta

CLC Number: 

  • C922