Based on a mixed-methods research design, this article explores young adults’ work trajectories. The findings presented in this article are based on retrospective longitudinal data collected in Beijing between September 2012 and August 2014. It is argued that, in China, neoliberal ideology has been mobilized in conjunction with a neo-familialist discourse which emphasizes the central role of women within Chinese families. Once married, women are compelled to embody “traditional” Chinese values. Although the country has a high level of female labour-market participation, in post-socialist China, the public discourse on family tends to reassign women to their roles as wives and mothers above their role as workers. Women are also more at risk than men of encountering vulnerabilities in their employment trajectories. Since the opening-up to a market economy and the individualization of labour relations, the market ideology has imposed itself and deepened socioeconomic inequalities and social stratification. As the collectivist welfare system has not yet found a solid substitute able to provide social protection for the whole population, the family, and especially women, are asked to take on part of this role.