China will embrace a talent dividend to boost economic development, while the implementation of the employment-first policy remains one of the government's top priorities to stabilize the job market, said Premier Li Qiang.
Li said at a news conference on Monday in Beijing that employment is the foundation of people's livelihoods, and the fundamental method to increase employment is by boosting the economy.
On March 5, the newly delivered Government Work Report set the year's target to create 12 million new jobs in urban areas.
The domestic job market was stable last year although a slight fluctuation was registered due to the COVID-19 epidemic, with about 12.06 million people landing jobs in urban areas, outnumbering the year's target of 11 million, according to the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security.
To further expand employment, Li stressed that the nation will continue comprehensively implementing the employment-first policy with more supportive policies on employment services and skills training this year.
New forms of employment like flexible employment will be part of the greater support from the government this year, while it will be managed with stricter regulation and standards in a bid to achieve healthier development. So far, the nation has one-seventh of its population — roughly 200 million people — with flexible jobs, according to the human resources and social security ministry.
The premier introduced China's comprehensive measures to address concerns about the employment of new college graduates, whose population grew to a record high of 11.58 million this year, a rise of 820,000 from last year.
He said that although the large number of college graduates will put pressure on the job market, they will also inject vitality into society. "So we will make efforts to support and help young people to realize their personal value in their work," he stressed.
He also pointed out that it's improper to make a simple judgment that the nation is losing the demographic dividend simply because of the negative growth of the nation's population last year.
"When assessing the demographic dividend, we shall not just look at the sheer size of the population but also look at the scale of high-caliber workforce," he said.
"We have so far nearly 900 million people of working age and an average of 15 million new people entering the job market every year. We still have rich human resources," he noted.
More than 240 million people have received higher education and the annually increasing labor force has an average of about 14 years of schooling, he said. "Thus, we haven't lost the demographic dividend while embracing a growing 'talent dividend'. We still have strong and robust drivers of development."
He added that the nation will conduct further research on social problems brought by demographic changes and develop solutions to address them.