10m migrants to be trained each year

Updated: 2014-02-21 01:23

By He Dan (China Daily)

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Lack of skills said to keep many workers out of modern industries

The government plans to provide training for all young migrant workers by 2020 to facilitate economic restructuring, a senior human resource official said on Thursday.

10m migrants to be trained each year 

A restaurant owner tries to recruit new staff at the Hufangqiao Job Market in Beijing earlier this week. He holds a sign detailing pay and conditions: a monthly salary of 2,500 yuan ($410) with free meals and living accommodations. WANG JING / CHINA DAILY 

"Lack of skills has impeded migrant workers' ability to become qualified for work in modern industries," said Yang Zhiming, vice-minister of human resources and social security.

The government plans to train 10 million workers every year starting from this year, said Yang.

The program will mostly benefit the "new generation of migrant workers", which refers to those born after the 1980s. About 100 million migrant workers fall into this social group. China had 269 million migrant workers by the end of 2013, according to official figures.

Yang said that labor costs in China will increase in coming years; therefore, a sufficient number of skilled workers is vital for the economy to be upgraded from "made in China" to "created in China".

Yang was speaking at a news conference hosted by the State Council Information Office in Beijing.

Ministry statistics showed that monthly income for migrant workers reached about 2,600 yuan ($427) in 2013, an increase of nearly 14 percent compared with the previous year.

But the income gap between rural and urban residents is still large, as migrant workers earn only 60 percent of what their urban counterparts earn, according to the National Bureau of Statistics.

The pay for migrant workers in the economically developed eastern parts of the country was about 10 percent higher than in central or western parts, Yang said.

Liu Junsheng, a researcher at the Labor and Wage Institute of the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security, told China Daily that rising labor costs have forced many labor-intensive industries in the coastal areas to relocate to inland provinces and even to countries in Southeast Asia.

He estimates that the government will invest at least 60 billion yuan each year on the massive training program.

Shi Zhenhuan, a communication official at Foxconn Technology Group, a major supplier for electronics giants, including Apple Inc, said it is difficult for the company to recruit enough skilled workers for its 30 manufacturing plants in the country.

He said most employees are not well educated and lack required skills, adding that it is challenging for the company to improve their skills as most young workers change jobs frequently.