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China Faced with Skilled Labor Shortage
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Despite the escalating problem of rising unemployment, China now finds itself faced with a contradictory dilemma, a skilled labor shortage; a situation that has left many asking the question, "Why?"

On June 19, China Youth Daily and's news center published the results of a joint survey on the subject.

A total of 1,645 people participated in the online survey.

Results showed that 38.8 percent of those surveyed believed that the reason for the shortage had to do with low incomes for blue-collar workers. 

About 21.8 percent of respondents pointed out that these occupations don't have "good reputations," which is why people are generally not willing to take them on.

About 37.6 percent of respondents felt that the answer lay in a combination of the two factors.

A further 20.5 percent said that even if salaries were increased, they would hesitate to accept a blue-collar job. 

The survey also threw up other considerations including work environment that 66.9 percent of respondents listed as a top priority. Although modern science and technology have significantly improved general working conditions, they still pale in comparison with those accorded to white-collar workers.

A poor image also emerged as an issue. The general impression is that blue-collar work lacks opportunities in terms of career improvement. The requirement for educational qualifications also denies work to otherwise skilled workers.

Traditional concept also affects people's choice. In the view of 57.1 percent of the interviewees, elites are always in charge of the management and common people have to work for them.

About 39.9 percent of the respondents highlighted the lack of stability associated with blue-collar work. With competition on the job market intensifying, less highly educated workers run a greater risk of losing their jobs. 

These reasons were cited as why many parents wish for their children to enroll in universities rather than vocational institutes. According to statistics, the number of students in vocational training schools dropped from 14.31 million in 1998 to 11.64 million in 2001. Student numbers reduced so drastically that in 2002, 600 schools were shut down.

( by Wang Ke, June 20, 2006)

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