Cultivation of digital talent urged
en.hangzhou.com.cn   2024-06-28 15:40   Source: China Daily

Yan Jie, 26, plans to take a job researching artificial intelligence after finishing his postgraduate studies in Shanghai next year.

Majoring in computer science and information engineering, he said he is sanguine about his future career.

"Many newly emerged industries such as big data, the metaverse and AI have a strong need for young people with computing knowledge," he said. "It will be interesting to get involved in such industries, and I'm looking forward to seeing the future 'digital world' that applies more information technology to real-world scenarios."

Yan is among the nation's growing community of professionals who are shaping the nation into a "smarter" economy. According to a recent report by the National Data Bureau, China's digital economy scale has exceeded 55 trillion yuan ($7.6 trillion), with the added value of core industries of the digital economy accounting for about 10 percent of the nation's GDP last year, which reached 126.06 trillion yuan.

"Nurturing professional digital talent can help improve the nation's competitiveness and boost the high-quality development of the economy," said Pang Shi, director of the Chinese Academy of Personnel Science's department of employment and entrepreneurship. "The nation's employment structure can be optimized and transformed from a lower-skilled one to a higher-skilled one. Also, the cultivation of digital talent can strengthen the nation's technological innovation and research capability and lead to the incubation of more new industries."

She added, however, that China faces a digital talent shortfall of about 25 million to 30 million workers, and the shortage will possibly continue in the near future.

"So far, industries that are especially in need of digital talent are the company e-management, e-commerce and software engineering sectors, as well as some of the newly emerged fields such as AI, biomedical engineering, new energy and financial engineering."

Based on the continuously flourishing digital economy, the nation has stepped up efforts to cultivate talent to serve in the sector.

In April, nine central departments — including the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security, the Office of the Central Cyberspace Affairs Commission and the Ministry of Education — revealed an action plan to set a target of nurturing a talent pool focused on innovation and high-quality growth from this year to 2026 to support the development of the digital economy.

According to the plan, State-level standards and systematic training courses for some new professions incubated by digital technologies such as big data, AI, smart manufacturing and data security will be drafted and published to help ease the job evaluation process and promotion channels for people working in these professions.

The central government is encouraging local authorities, industrial associations, vocational schools and companies to produce talent with digital knowledge and skills. It will also make continuous efforts to enhance international exchanges by introducing high-level digital talent from abroad and attracting more overseas returnees to start their own businesses.

In addition, more investment institutions will get support from the government, as the nation hopes they will nurture more promising, well-performing digital economy-related companies.

Some State-level markets offering employment services to digital talent will be established in cities and regions such as Beijing, Shanghai and the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area.

According to the action plan, more skills competitions for digital technology workers will be organized. The nation will add individual events testing participants' digital knowledge and skills in categories such as AI and integrated circuits in future State-level competitions, which have taken place every two years since 2020.

Earlier in November, a report by the China Industrial Control Systems Cyber Emergency Response Team and online recruitment portal Zhaopin revealed that companies are dangling big salaries as they aggressively recruit digital talent.

The report said that the average recruiting salary for jobs requiring digital knowledge and skills was 14,244 yuan ($1,962) per month during the first three quarters of last year, which is 40 percent higher than the salaries offered for average positions advertised on Zhaopin's platform.

Of those digital technology-related jobs, the highest starting salary offered from January to September last year was for analog IC (integrated circuit) designers (38,797 yuan per month), followed by IC validation engineers (35,695 yuan per month), according to the report.

Li Qiang, vice-president of Zhaopin, said that as the digital economy becomes a new growth engine for China's economic development, the market demand for digital talent will increase.

"Digital talent also plays an important role in bettering people's lives, and digital technology has been used in various sectors, including catering, transport and accommodation."

He said that the State-level action plan offers a sensible blueprint for the cultivation of the nation's digital talent.

"From my perspective, higher education facilities should avoid homogenization in their efforts to produce talent. For example, research-based universities can produce high-level innovative digital talent, while colleges focusing on practical uses can train their students to become professionals with good skills."

The central government's action plan also clarified some policies and measures supporting digital talent production, including optimizing payment systems for digital talent. Local authorities are also encouraged to attract more such workers with preferential policies on housing, healthcare, children's education and entrepreneurship.

Author:   Editor: Ye Lijiao