New occupations enjoy popularity among young people in China

Photo taken on Oct. 21, 2020 shows contestants performing tasks related to the application of smart sensor technologies in a qualification trial of China’s national artificial intelligence technical skills competition at a competition site in east China’s Anhui province. (Photo by Wang Biao/People’s Daily Online)

Earlier this year, China’s Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security (MOHRSS), together with two other government departments, gave official recognition of 18 new professions including integrated circuit engineer and technician, corporate compliance consultant, drink designer, bringing the total number of new occupations released by China since 2019 to 56.


As digital technologies are increasingly integrated into various industries in China in recent years, companies have shown an urgent need for digital transformation, thus generating new professions like digitalization manager, online education service provider, and all-media operator.


Besides, the advances of digital technologies have fueled platform economy, which brings about delivery personnel for online orders, taxi-hailing service provider, and other new occupations.


As manufacturing quickens pace in transformation and upgrading and becomes more advanced and intelligent, a number of new occupations that require professional skills have come along.


With the application of cutting-edge technologies, professions that existed only in science fiction, including industrial robot system operator and quantum computing engineer, have come into the real world, driving Made-in-China products to become more intelligent.


Chinese people have shown evident need for consumption upgrading with continuous improvement in their living standards. Their increasing demand for health, nursing, elderly care, and food safety has stimulated a batch of new professions, including health carers, respiratory therapists, assistive technology consultants for rehabilitation, and capacity assessors for the elderly.


Besides, the rise of the economy based on people’s interests has led to the emergence of new occupations in niche areas of consumption. For example, room escape games popular with youngsters have incubated new professions like room escape game scriptwriter, sound effect technician, as well as center control and operation personnel.


New professions are favored by young people in China as they are more flexible, suit their interests, and provide platform for them to realize personal values. A survey suggests over 50 percent of the young respondents hope to try new professions, and nearly 20 percent have already been engaged in new occupations.


Huang Zusheng, one of the first batch of digitalization managers in China, has seen his annual pay jump to 350,000 yuan ($53,978) from less than one hundred thousand yuan in 2014. He doesn’t need to worry about employment at all, as he often receives job offers from companies.


Many small and medium-sized companies still adopt a workshop-style management model, under which employees are highly dependent on the boss. These firms generally need digitalized management, according to Huang, who explained that his job is to help companies build organizational structure, personnel composition and management system, and reduce costs and increase efficiency through digital administrative management.


Huang’s experience unveils the appeal of new occupations. According to a report on the prospects of digitalization managers released by the MOHRSS, 87 percent of digitalization managers gain a salary 1-3 times the local average salary. Companies that are equipped with one digitalization manager every ten employees are 35 to 50 percent more efficient in work than those without digitalization managers, the report said.


China has seen the number of digitalization managers exceed 2 million since it officially recognized it as a new profession in 2019.


A tech blogger known as MediaStorm on a website, who started to make videos as a hobby, has now set up a production team with about 50 members and registered an income of over 20 million yuan last year. By the end of 2020, the website had 1.9 million monthly active bloggers.


To judge from the huge demand, new occupations have broad prospects. It is estimated that in the next five years, China will need nearly 1.5 million cloud computing engineers and technicians, nearly 5 million Internet of Things (IoT) installation and commissioning personnel, nearly one million drone operators, nearly 1.5 million agricultural managers, nearly five million AI talents, nearly 1.3 million building information modeling technicians, 1.25 million industrial robot system operators and 1.25 million industrial robot operation and maintenance personnel, according to a report issued by the employment training technical instruction center under the MOHRSS.


The country faces a nearly 10 million talent gap in relevant fields, suggested the report.

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