China’s industrial upgrades spur surge in hi-tech job opportunities

January 25, 2024
Updated 2024/01/25 at 7:54 PM
4 Min Read
(240117) -- BEIJING, Jan. 17, 2024 (Xinhua) -- This photo taken on Jan. 11, 2023 shows employees working at a factory of Lotus Cars in an industrial park of the Wuhan Economic and Technological Development Zone in Wuhan, central China's Hubei Province. (Xinhua/Xiao Yijiu)

BEIJING) — China’s progress in technological innovation and industrial upgrading is catalyzing a boom in job opportunities in emerging sectors such as smart manufacturing, artificial intelligence and big data, highlighting the country’s burgeoning demand for skilled hi-tech professionals.

Data from job-seeking service provider Liepin showed that job postings requiring expertise in artificial intelligence generated content (AIGC) increased 179 percent during the first 10 months of 2023, compared with the same period in the previous year.

As sectors including AIGC, large-scale AI model, new energy vehicles (NEVs) and smart manufacturing evolve into the latest investment hotspots, employers are scrambling to hire professionals with the mastery of machine learning, natural language processing and battery engineering, said Liepin’s vice president Ba Ran.

Chinese automaker BYD exemplifies this trend at its Zhengzhou plant, located in central China’s Henan Province, where the company’s latest NEV model is produced.

According to BYD’s data, the workforce composition at the Zhengzhou facility has a ratio of 1.35:1 between frontline manual workers and skilled workers. BYD expects the need for skilled workers to continue growing due to the carmaker’s increasing focus on automation.

The tech-intensive facility currently has approximately 33,000 employees, and the workforce is expected to double when the facility reaches full production capacity, as per BYD’s Zhengzhou branch.

“Our demand for skilled professionals has grown substantially over the years. Experts in system architecture, software engineering and AI are the most sought-after,” said Wang Zhen, human resources manager of BYD.

“Professionals in intelligent technology are urgently needed not just by NEV manufacturers such as ourselves, but across all industries nowadays,” Wang said.

Zeng Jingping, vice director of the blade manufacturing division at Dongfang Turbine Co., Ltd., a hi-tech firm engaged in the research, design and manufacture of large power station equipment, noted that technological maintenance workers have become increasingly sought-after, including within the company’s automated workshops.

“These workers must be adept at mechanical processing and computer numerical control, while possessing basic knowledge of electrical and information technologies,” Zeng said, emphasizing that such workers play a crucial role in the transformation of China’s manufacturing industry.

Driven by China’s technology drive, nearly 10,000 digital workshops and smart factories spanning diverse sectors have emerged nationwide. These facilities are creating new professions and job opportunities, invigorating the country’s industrial transformation and propelling innovation-driven growth.

A recent report by online recruitment platform Zhaopin also revealed that industrial automation is an increasingly popular career choice among China’s younger generations. In 2023, 25.2 percent of professionals who switched to the sector had less than three years of work experience, a significant increase from 5.9 percent the previous year.

In 2024, China will maintain employment as its top priority by increasing fiscal subsidies and tax incentives, providing greater financial assistance, and reducing social insurance burden, said Yun Donglai, an official with the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security, at a press conference on Wednesday.

The country will also encourage advanced manufacturing, along with the digital, eco-friendly and elderly care sectors, to play a greater role in creating jobs, while intensifying support for major employment drivers such as private, small and medium-sized companies, the official said.

“China’s employment is expected to remain generally stable this year, due to the country’s steady economic rebound, the transition from traditional to new growth drivers, and the continued emergence of new sources of job creation,” Yun added.

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