Companies encouraged to reward ability, diligence and high output
Chinese State-owned enterprises should play a leading role in improving the treatment of skilled workers, especially highly skilled talent, a senior official said on Monday.
On Thursday, the general offices of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and State Council jointly released a guideline calling for more incentives for skilled workers by raising their political status, incomes and social benefits.
China has a working population of 776 million, of which only 165 million are skilled, and a mere 47 million are "highly skilled", according to Tang Tao, deputy minister of the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security.
"That is a truly serious imbalance between demand and supply in the labor market," he said on Monday.
The ministry attributed the shortage in the talent supply mainly to low income, unsatisfactory welfare benefits and poor social status associated with skilled positions.
"The State-owned enterprises, especially those directly under the central government, should take the lead in improving the treatment of technical workers," Tang said.
"We are now talking with the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission about that. In addition, we are communicating with the All-China Federation of Industry and Commerce, hoping that non-State-owned enterprises can increase skilled workers' benefits."
According to the guideline, State-owned enterprises' gross payrolls should lean toward highly skilled workers, and average salary increases shouldn't be lower than those for administrative staff.
According to Xinhua News Agency, in some job fairs in Guangdong and Fujian provinces, salaries as high as 20,000 yuan ($3,200) a month are on offer, but qualified technicians are simply not available.
As for increasing all skilled workers' benefits, the guideline encouraged companies to establish salary systems that can reflect job value, personal ability and work performance. It also advised employers to subsidize complementary allowances for technicians.
It called for companies to guarantee that workers with higher skills, greater diligence and greater output receive better rewards.
"Front-line skilled workers are fresh troops for the Made in China 2025 strategy," Tang said. "They can make high-quality products and provide good related services."
The national strategy is characterized by a switch from low-end manufacturing to more value-added production, with a focus on emerging industries. That calls for more highly skilled industrial workers.
Yan Jinghua, vice-president of All-China Federation of Trade Unions, thought well-qualified and adequate skilled workers had a positive effect on technical innovation.
"There were a total of 607,000 national patents obtained by workers around China from 2013 to 2017. And 15 technological achievements of front-line technicians have won the National Science and Technology Progress Awards in recent years," he said.