China plans to improve the salaries and social status of skilled workers as increasing demand has resulted in a human resources shortage.
The central government has invested more than 2 billion yuan ($311.8 million) to enhance the country’s capability of training skilled talent, and improvements have been made in their work.
Currently, there are 476 State-level training bases for highly skilled talent and 594 specially established workshops for masters who can train apprentices.
The number of highly skilled talent in the country reached more than 47.9 million by the end of 2016, according to a statement from the Professional Capacity Building Department, Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security.
Since the 18th CPC National Congress in November 2012, more than 5.3 million people have graduated from skilled workers school and technical institutes around the country and the employment rate for new graduates has remained above 97 percent. About 97.2 million people across the country have been offered government-subsidized skill training.
Despite the achievement, there is still a shortage in the number of skilled workers and an imbalance in structure.
“The shortage has been especially outstanding with the development of modern information technology and artificial intelligence. Enterprises have updated their requirement on the expertise they need and the composition of their worker team,” the ministry said, adding, the demand for skilled workers will keep growing in the next five years.
The capacity to train the people needed for the emerging industries is still inadequate, which hinders the cultivation of such workers. Meanwhile, skilled workers see more challenges in their career development due to low wages and a diminished social status, it said.
Officials are drafting policies on the welfare of highly skilled workers. In addition to an all-around improvement in skilled workers’ salary and allowances, these policies also aim to upgrade skilled workers’ social status and make them prouder of the jobs they do, it said.
Yuan Qiang, a student majoring in industrial automation at Shandong Industrial Technician College, said he is “very happy” to know the central government is making more efforts to improve skilled workers’ welfare.
Since entering the college in Weifang, Shandong province, in 2012, Yuan said he has seen the government increasingly underscore the importance of skilled workers’ education.
“Our tuition has been canceled since 2015, and we were refunded all the tuition we paid previously. Meanwhile, each student could get a subsidy of 1,500 yuan a year for the first two years in the college,” said Yuan, 21.
While working as an intern in factories years ago, he said he found graduates from technical colleges made less than university graduates though they have stronger hands-on skills. “The situation has been changing gradually, thanks to the importance government has attached to skilled workers,” he said.
China has also increased investment in skilled workers’ schools and technical institutes. Yang Jingyuan, the principal at Yunnan Transport Technician College in Yunnan province, said the government is investing more than 400 million yuan in his school from 2016 to 2020, which is “much more than the total the government invested in the past 30 years”.