Experienced technicians in the communications, electronics, and auto-making industries and other high and new technology sectors can earn as much as 100,000 yuan (US$12,048) a year in China, according to a recent survey conducted by Shanghai's labor and social security authorities.
Such a salary is considered desirable even by the standards of Shanghai business executives.
The survey also showed that technicians in some traditional industries, such as skilled locksmiths, pattern-makers and oil refiners, can make 70,000 to 80,000 yuan (US$8,434 to US$9,638) a year.
Skilled workers in the service sector, such as beauticians, hairdressers and chefs, also earn a decent income of up to 50,000 yuan (US$6,024) a year.
In fact, the survey discovered year-on-year income growth in nearly all of the 408 skilled positions it tracked.
Analysts here have attributed the high income of technical workers to the growing demand for these individuals in the job market. Many experienced workers have retired, and most young people prefer to be office workers and look down on blue-collar technical jobs.
Given the circumstances, these analysts foresee further salary increases for technical workers, as most enterprises are willing to offer better pay to maintain a stable and competent work force.
The latest statistics from the Ministry of Labour and Social Security indicate that only 3.5 percent of China's 70 million technical workers are categorized "advanced-skilled workers," compared with about 40 percent in most developed countries.
The lack of qualified workers has had a negative impact on production: Only 70 percent of the Chinese products evaluated were considered up to standard and substandard products cause losses of thousands of million yuan each year, according to a ministerial source.
Under the country's 10th Five-Year (2001-05) Plan, 20 percent of China's workers are scheduled to be trained as advanced technical workers who are expected to meet international standards.
On the other hand, global cooperation should be encouraged to bring Chinese technical workers up to international standards, said Chen Yu, director of the Professional Qualification Identification Centre under the Ministry of Labour and Social Security.
(Xinhua News Agency October 13, 2002)