BEIJING — China has started to channel more energy into improving the benefits of skilled workers, as the world’s second largest economy is counting on a bigger high-quality workforce to help facilitate its transition.
A guideline has been issued by central authorities to boost the incomes and social status of skilled workers.
Businesses will be encouraged to provide more incentives to technical personnel, including a greater say in corporate operation, higher salaries and stock options. Governments will grant skilled labor honorary titles and favorable treatment in areas such as housing and children’s education.
China hopes the policies will motivate workers to sharpen their skills and make innovations, and attract more talented young people choose blue-collar jobs.
“It is the first time that China has put such great emphasis on the issue,” said Tang Tao, vice-minister of human resources and social security, at a news conference March 26.
Skilled workers have long been undervalued, which results in a huge demand-supply gap in the labor market.
China has an employed population of 776 million, of which only 20 percent are skilled labor and a mere six percent are highly-skilled.
“Both ratios are very low ... and there has been a serious shortage for skilled workers.” Tang said.
Policy makers have decided to tackle the problem as the country’s shift to high-quality development will boost demand for skilled labor, such as the “Made in China 2025” strategy that calls for more qualified industrial workers to push the manufacturing sector up the value chain.
The Communist Party of China has announced that the country will build an educated, skilled and innovative workforce, foster respect for model workers, and promote quality workmanship.
Tang said the government would closely track the implementation of the guideline and expects the new policy will achieve sound results.
China will support highly-skilled workers to participate in national research programs and strengthen the protection of their intellectual property rights and technological innovations, according to the guideline.
Blue-collar workers will also be granted higher political status as more of them will be able to enter Party committees, legislatures and political advisory bodies.