Shortage of skilled workers may jeopardise Guangzhou's industry

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 28 March, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 28 March, 2007, 12:00am

A scarcity of skilled workers is threatening Guangzhou's efforts to upgrade its industrial structure, the city's labour bureau warned yesterday.

The supply of workers with technical skills met only about 70 per cent of demand, labour bureau director Cui Renquan said.

'We are focusing on the problem and hope to resolve it by 2010,' Mr Cui said.

He said there was no widespread shortage of ordinary workers, although some enterprises might have temporary recruitment problems.

'But as Guangzhou has upgraded its industries and new industries entered the market, there has been a shortage of highly skilled and experienced workers at different levels,' Mr Cui said. 'If we still do not pay attention to it, the shortage will become more serious.'

He pledged Guangzhou would expand vocational training where needed in industries.

In the past few years, Guangzhou's vocational schools have expanded rapidly but they are still unable to satisfy demand.

Mr Cui said vocational training was important in resolving the shortage of skilled workers.

Highly skilled workers could not be found in the migrant population and people needed to be trained.

'The party and government are strongly supporting vocational schools and encouraging private investment in vocational training and re-training university graduates whose training does not meet market demands,' he said.

Guangdong province last month launched a two-year programme to train 20,000 former soldiers in 93 vocational schools.

There are 79,000 students in Guangzhou's technical schools and 20,000 graduate every year.

But the numbers cannot meet demand.

Mr Cui also said Guangzhou's unemployment rate was 2.06 per cent last year, down 0.02 of a percentage point from the previous year.

Skills shortage

Guangdong's provincial government said last year it would invest 300 million yuan a year until 2010 to support vocational education

Enrolments in the province's vocational schools in 2010 are expected to hit 650,000