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Labor boom prompts call for additional vocational training

Ren Xiaojin
Updated: Nov 14,2017 9:12 AM     China Daily

A technician of CRRC Qingdao Sifang Co Ltd, a high-speed train manufacturer, gives instructions to students at a vocational school in Shandong province.[Photo provided for China Daily]

The labor market needs more vocational education to lift the number of skilled workers in China, experts said at a recent seminar.

According to the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security, the working population in China will face a sharp drop to 700 million by 2050 from 911 million in 2015.

Such a drop is sparking the demand for vocational education and creating a profound market. At the seminar held by JP Morgan, experts addressed on the importance of vocational education.

“The speed of industrial upgrading is going beyond expectation,” said Hao Jianbin, director of the Entrepreneurship and Employment Research Center at the Ali Research Institute. “It raised the salary for low-end labor and pushed the manufacturing factories (that) required less skills moving abroad.”

He said it is not very likely the quantity of labor can increase in the short run. Hence the market needs to see more investment in human resources to train more skilled workers to make up for the shortfall.

According to Qianzhan Industry Research Institute’s report, the market for vocational education in 2015 was 453.5 billion yuan ($68.3 billion), and the number is expected to double by 2020, creating a trillion-yuan market.

To promote people’s employability in the fierce job market, some vocational education has already seen a growing volume of students. Emerald Group, an education institution focusing on internet technology and digital entertainment, is one example.

“We have seen a rising demand for internet engineers in the domestic job market every year since it is a very prospective occupation,” said Chen Shengdong, chief executive officer of the group. “More and more graduates come here to enhance their competitive edge in the labor market.”

Chen said the institution will constantly change their course syllabi according to what is hot in the labor market, thereby serving the companies that are upgrading but struggling to find suitable employees.

From January to August this year, net profit of the group has reached 50.25 million yuan. The group is expected to bring in an annual 90 million yuan in net profit and predicts a stable 30 percent growth rate during the next two years.

Education in the high-end financial sector is also booming. Earlier this year, PricewaterhouseCoopers, or PwC, started its You Plus Special Training Program in Shanghai’s Lujiazui Financial City.

According to PwC’s report, more than 80 percent of senior executives in Chinese corporations said it is hard to find talent with practical problem-solving skills.

The full-time PwC program lasts for 12 months and can cost up to 300,000 yuan.

Cai Xiaoying, general manager of You Plus, said such training will help solve the imbalance between the supply and demand in human resources for Chinese corporations.

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