After working as a ceramics painter for 18 years, Li Xiaogui is overjoyed that this year he will be awarded the senior professional title, the highest of its kind.
"It'll be a recognition of my work and can motivate us to keep improving our skills," said Li, a famous ceramic painter in Jingdezhen, an ancient porcelain capital in east China's Jiangxi Province.
His promotion was made possible after China's Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security issued a professional title system reform guideline for arts and crafts personnel in February, allowing them to have the highest professional title for the first time.
Major tasks of China's professional title system reform have been completed after five years of effort, which are expected to affect around 80 million professionals, according to the ministry.
"We have included senior titles in 11 new work categories including engineering, economics, and accounting, which will benefit nearly 30 million professional technicians," said Liu Dongmei, an official with the ministry.
Under the reform, people working in 13 new industries, such as animation and gaming, sports injury prevention and express engineering, can be assessed and granted job titles based on their skills.
"The reform gives more credit to people's practical work performance instead of merely looking at their academic certificates, papers or seniority during the technical assessment," said Liu, adding that medical workers should be assessed mainly by their practical clinical ability and teachers by teaching quality.
Besides reforming the professional title system, China is ramping up efforts to create a level playground for men and women in the workplace to help female talent break the glass ceiling and further succeed.
In July, the Ministry of Science and Technology and the All-China Women's Federation, as well as other 10 departments, launched a series of measures to support female researchers in playing a greater role in sci-tech innovation.
The document has put forward 16 specific measures relating to six aspects of career development of female talent, such as training high-level female sci-tech talent, supporting their innovation and entrepreneurship capabilities, improving the evaluation mechanisms, and supporting their research during pregnancy and nursing periods.
Cao Lina published a paper in Nature, as the first author, on a new catalyst for hydrogen fuel cells at the age of 29. Now, the 31-year-old associate researcher at the University of Science and Technology of China has more confidence in her research after hearing these new measures.
In the field of physical chemistry, most scientific research equipment is bulky, and females do appear a little short on physical strength. But Cao said that women have certain advantages, such as meticulous observation, rational planning and patient execution, allowing them to play unique roles in scientific research.
"The golden age of a research career overlaps with the peak reproductive period of women, and people have limited energy, which means difficult decisions for many female sci-tech talent," Cao said, adding that the new policy now helps ensure their career is not interrupted because of pregnancy.
The policy also aims to cultivate more young female talent through providing gender-equality education, encouraging female students to participate in sci-tech competitions, and setting up scholarships for outstanding female college students in science and engineering.
Another breakthrough of this policy is supporting female talent to obtain more sci-tech resources and enhance their participation in the sci-tech decision-making process.