A survey conducted by the Ministry of Labor and Social Security last year showed that China badly lacks in senior technicians with the actual number of qualified senior technicians in demand in Chinese enterprises some 12 percent higher than the current number of technicians available in China.
When reports in the media about a lack of available senior Chinese technicians reached several non-governmental organizations in Japan, they decided to try to help fill these job opportunities in China with Japanese professionals who had been forced to retire due to the deteriorating management of their former enterprises in Japan.
According to information from Japan’s Sankei News published on March 30, a non-commercial “Sino-Japan Technician Exchange Center” will be sponsored by the University of Tsukuba, SRIC Corporation and some other institutions to help middle-aged and older laid-off Japanese technicians find re-employment opportunities in China. According to the organizers, the goal is to make the best use of Japanese senior technicians’ knowledge in Chinese enterprises which need such expertise, especially after China’s accession into WTO.
The Service Center for Overseas Students and Experts attached to the Ministry of Personnel confirmed this news on April 2. As for Japan, they began negotiating with China at the beginning of this year. Now, both China and Japan are preparing for this cooperation which Mr. Zhuang, director of the Expert Service Center, said will benefit both sides. Owing to the bleak prospects of some Japanese enterprises, many older engineers with advanced expertise were forced to retire early. Meanwhile, China is experiencing a hard time with its great lack of senior and professional technicians. If many qualified Japanese automobile-producing technicians can be introduced into China’s automobile-producing industry, it will not only solve the problem of employees’ redundancy in Japan’s automobile field, but also meet many Chinese enterprises’ demand for more senior technicians after China’s entry into WTO.
Director Zhuang also said that by following the principal of “mutual benefits, self-focused and two-way choices,” by means of sheer market-oriented management, China will attract more desired foreign senior technicians into Chinese enterprises for its benefits.
So far, Director Zhuang is still not sure whether this cooperation can be implemented under current national policies. Since these Japanese senior technicians are neither common workers, nor foreign experts, there isn’t any corresponding policy to refer to in this regard. Now, he is researching the matter, and the final result is expected before June of this year. Some think that at a time when China is becoming a “world factory,” China will lose that standing if Chinese technicians cannot meet the required quality and standards set by Chinese enterprises. On the other hand, Chinese technicians will be forced out of their jobs in the face of the fierce competition from seasoned technicians from abroad.
(中国青年报 [China Youth Daily], translated by Feng Shu for china.org.cn, April 24, 2002)