Twenty-two million, that's the number of talents China's professional technical sector is expected to be short of in 2020.
The data released by the Chinese authorities shows that skilled talents are valuable to the country's job market.
Jin Song, an employee at a home furnishings company in east China's Zhejiang Province said he is needed because he knows how to operate a piece of special equipment. "There are many companies who want to get me to join them," said Jin.
China needs more high-skilled personnel. (Photos: Xinhua)
Workers, especially those who know both basic operations and intelligent manufacturing, have become the favorites of many enterprises.
Feng Xing, a senior manager at Great Wall Development Technology Cooperation said: "We need workers who can change from a single operation to a diversified operation, from a fixed position operation to a mobile position operation."
China's Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security
The numbers speak—the employment rate of graduates from higher vocational colleges in 2018 hit over 90 percent, exceeding that of college graduates.
But at the same time, the enrollment rate of those higher vocational colleges has seen a decline for six consecutive years. Why this embarrassing reality?
"Chinese students are willing to go to university rather than become so-called 'blue-collar' workers. Although we have established a kind of mechanism to encourage people to become technicians... this mechanism is not enough," said Zeng Xiangquan, the director of the Institute for Employment Research at Renmin University.
Jiangxi News and Press Higher Vocational College in southeast China's Jingxi Province
China's Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security put forward a "Skilled Talents Team Construction Program" in 2018, aiming to enhance efforts to train hundreds of millions of high-quality workers and technicians.
They hope to build about 800 national training bases for high-skilled talents, 1000 studios for top technicians in various fields and develop 900 kinds of teaching materials for technical education by the end of 2020.
"We only need 5 percent of the research type talents who graduate from universities like Tsinghua and Peking University. I would call them talents from the tip of the pyramid, but we indeed need more skilled talents—they are the foundation of the pyramid. Where does the top come without the foundation?" noted Jiang Dayuan, the director of the Center for Higher Vocational Education Research at the Ministry of Education.
China needs more high-skilled personnel
During this year's political season, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said the country will take strong moves to develop modern vocational education, and higher vocational colleges will expand their enrollment to 1 million students in 2019 alone.
The transformation of educational concepts, together with the government's support is why we can see a bright future for the graduates of higher vocational colleges.