BEIJING, Feb. 12 (Xinhua) — China has always viewed skilled talents as invaluable assets when implementing its workforce development strategy, employment-first strategy and innovation-driven development strategy. As local specialty industries are mushrooming, skilled labors get increasing job opportunities and incomes.
Just ahead of the Spring Festival, a team of construction workers from Pingyu County, central China’s Henan Province, were busy working on waterproofing in Beijing, hoping to make more money before returning to hometown for their family reunion.
“Workers from Pingyu are renowned for their waterproofing skills, so we never worry about not having new orders, while my daily wage has exceeded 400 yuan (about 56.31 U.S. dollars),” a worker surnamed Liu said proudly.
Pingyu used to be a poor breadbasket county, but some workers skilled at waterproofing have brought hope for the economy. Seeing that they could command handsome incomes by working outside the county, more and more locals joined the sector, and the county now has over 2,000 waterproofing enterprises.
The county government responded by intensifying efforts to develop this specialty industry by building training bases, setting up vocational schools and hosting skills competitions. At present, about 300,000 workers from the county tasked with waterproofing are working nationwide, earning an average income of over 80,000 yuan per year.
Pingyu’s story is a vivid example of the benefits of developing local specialty industries in expanding local employment options. In 2021, the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security and 19 other government departments released a guideline on nurturing labor brands, as part of efforts to transform the rich supply of human resources into talent outcomes.
Xinhua was told that the key to nurturing labor brands is technology. “I dared not to participate in the waterproofing field until I was properly trained as the job requires high quality,” said Liu, who used to be a farmer.
Henan now has various labor brands, including construction work, gardening and domestic assistants, which have created over 2 million jobs. More than 700,000 migrant workers received vocational training in Henan in 2023.
Qianjiang, a city in Henan’s neighboring province of Hubei, cooperates with colleges in Henan to train talents and cultivate labor brands.
Yang Qianqian, a researcher and development designer with Hubei Ourselves Garment Co. Ltd., became a backbone employee of her company within two years of graduating from Jianghan Art Vocational College.
“When I was still a college student, I was often given the chance to learn at production sites of the company, and so I adapted to the work here in advance of joining the company,” said Yang.
Textile and apparel enterprises emerged in Qianjiang in the 1980s and have forged a well-known labor brand. Now, about 180,000 workers from Qianjiang are tasked with tailoring jobs nationwide, while the college has cultivated a large number of apparel design talents.
Qianjiang also features China’s largest crayfish breeding base and trading center. Jianghan Art Vocational College contributes to this local industry via its crayfish vocational school, cultivating restaurant operators and chefs for the industry.
At present, about 200,000 workers from Qianjiang are involved in the crayfish sector, while around 46,000 of them have set up their own businesses, thereby creating even more job opportunities.
The vigorous development of new business forms also creates new opportunities for the cultivation of labor brands. Xinhua found that some regions are accelerating the development of vocational groups in the fields of information technology and digital economy.
Henan is training personnel in digital sectors such as artificial intelligence, big data and 5G, while also producing skilled staff in the courier sector.
Beijing, meanwhile, is constructing a brand known as “Zhongguancun programmers,” and has helped over 78,000 people secure flexible employment within the space of three years.
China’s employment situation is improving. The country’s average surveyed urban unemployment rate stood at 5.2 percent in 2023, down 0.4 percentage points from 2022.
China has pledged efforts to speed up the development of technical education, improve its system of lifelong vocational training and increase the income levels of its skilled talents. ■