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Shortage of Senior Technicians Creates a Bottleneck in Manufacturing

Based on Chinese media, according to its Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security, China has a shortage of 20 million senior technicians.  Estimates are that the number will hit 30 million in five years.  “Senior technician” is now among the top 100 job categories that are in the shortest supply.

However, according to a  survey, only one percent of workers in China want to be a technician. As many as 90 percent believe that technicians have low social status and low wages because generally, they do not have the education credentials of college graduates.

In China, skilled workers primarily come from migrant workers. As of 2020, nearly 70 percent of the total migrant workers have an education level of junior high school or below. As a result, most technicians in China are low- and middle-level skilled workers.

Senior technicians account for only six percent in China, compared with Japan’s 40 percent and Germany’s 50 percent.

According to the International Labor Organization, of all skilled workers in developed countries, 35 percent are senior technicians, 50 percent are medium level, and 15 percent have a low level of skills.

Such a large gap creates a bottleneck in transforming and upgrading China’s manufacturing industry. Workers’ overall quality and skill level are limiting how scientific and technological developments translate into economic growth.


1. Tencent, September 5, 2021

2. China’s Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security, July 22, 2021

3. Sina, June 30, 2021