China's lack of skilled workers is hampering its development as one of the world's manufacturing giants, China's first International Machinery Manufacturing Exposition has heard.
Zeng Xiangquan, dean of the School of Labor Relations and Human Resources under the Beijing-based People's University said that the number of qualified technical workers had failed to keep pace with manufacturing growth since China's accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO).
The latest statistics from the Ministry of Labor and Social Security indicate that just 3.5 percent of China's 70 million technical workers are classed as advanced-skills workers, compared to about 40 percent in most developed countries.
The data also show that China urgently needs 600,000 numerical controlling machine operators.
The lack of qualified workers had a negative impact on production, with only 70 percent of Chinese products evaluated as up to standard, and substandard products causing losses of 200 million yuan (US$25 million) each year.
"In a bid to make Chinese products more competitive in the international market, the country must put greater effort into improving the quality of technical workers," Zeng said.
Zhang Shuguang, a research fellow of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said the situation was due to the fact that the Chinese valued only academic qualifications and belittled a professional education.
Under the country's 10th Five-Year (2001-2005) Plan, 20 percent of its workers are to be trained as advanced technical workers who will meet international standards.
Chen Yu, director of the Professional Qualification Identification Center under the Ministry of Labor and Social Security, said global cooperation should be encouraged to bring Chinese technical workers up to international standards.
(People’s Daily September 9, 2002)