China sees greater demand for skilled workers amid economic transition

Experts refuted the views that skilled workers will diminish as enterprises are making constant progress in automated production, saying that the management and operation of such automation equipment would call for higher expertise from the workers.

Lathe Group In Jiangxi

By Li Xinping, Zhu Yueying

Skilled workers in China are taking pride in their professions as the world’s second largest economy sees huge demand for high-quality workforce to help facilitate its transition.

“All roads lead to Rome, and getting a college diploma is not the only way to success,” said Hu Ping, who won the gold medal in fashion technology at the 44th WorldSkills Competition in 2017.

“By acquiring a skill and hard work, one can also realize the dream of life,” added Hu, also a student studying costume designing and manufacturing at Beijing Industry and Trade Technicians College. She told People’s Daily that it was the interest that drove her to choose the school.

However, the decision was not easy for her to make, as her relatives and friends all opposed her, she said, adding that one of her uncles even said it was almost impossible for her to find a job.

“Fortunately, the WorldSkills Competition proved my competence and changed the views of my family and friends,” noted Hu.

At present, many skilled young people like Hu are receiving training at 205 camps across China, competing for the quota to attend the 45th  WorldSkills Competition in Kazan in southwest Russia. They will go through rounds of tests and evaluations in the next few months and only one candidate will be finally qualified for each event.

Nowadays, what students learn at technician and vocational schools is quite different and new. The courses have been transformed to modern techniques such as industrial design, 3D print and application, applied biology, and graphic communication, from the traditional technical operations of bench-work, milling, planning and grinding.

Technological advances and industrial upgrading are replacing outdated professions with new ones such as smart equipment installation, maintenance and adjusting.

China had a total of 165 million skilled workers by the end of 2018, of which 47.91 million were highly skilled. The numbers registered rises of 23 percent and 39.3 percent respectively from 2012.

However, such workers are still far from sufficient as skilled labor force only account for around 20 percent of the country’s employment, and the highly skilled less than 6 percent.

In recent years, the demand for skilled workers has always been 1.5 times of the job-seeking group, and even twice when it comes to the highly skilled.

Apart from the eastern coastal areas, the insufficiency of skilled workers is gradually moving toward central and western China, transforming from seasonal scarcity to constant short supply.

Experts refuted the views that skilled workers will diminish as enterprises are making constant progress in automated production, saying that the management and operation of such automation equipment would call for higher expertise from the workers.

“I want to make greater contributions in production,” said Hu. As a candidate preparing for this year’s WorldSkills contest, she bears a hope to stand the test from the market.

Source: People’s Daily

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