Li Meng: Enhance the Coordinated Development between Industrial Workers and the Real Economy
Created On : 2017-12-04    Views : 185

Source: Shanghai Observer

It is put forward in the report to the 19th National Congress of the CPC that “we should accelerate the building of an industrial system that promotes coordinated development of the real economy with technological innovation, modern finance, and human resources,” putting forward new requirements on building an educated, skilled and innovative workforce. Industrial workers are the mainstay of the workforce. In the first half of this year, the CPC Central Committee and the State Council issued the Reform Plan on Industrial Workers Workforce Buildup in the New Era (hereinafter referred to as the "Reform Plan"), making it clear that buildup of a strong industrial workforce is an important support and basic guarantee for the strategy of rejuvenating China, through science, education and talents, and the strategy of driving development with innovation. We should foster a strong workforce of industrial workers with lofty ideas, good skills, a spirit of dedication, a strong sense of responsibility, and good innovation abilities. It clearly sets out the new task of establishing a strong workforce of industrial workers, and points out the direction and approach to the goal.

Why should we lay stress on the buildup of the industrial worker workforce?

It is the first time in the history of our Party and our country to formulate and implement a "Reform Plan" regarding the reform and buildup of industrial workers. This fully shows that the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping as the core pays high attention to and has great concern for the working class, including industrial workers. It also releases a strong signal that the CPC Central Committee always adheres to the people-centered development thinking and the guideline of wholeheartedly relying on the working class. Industrial workers are the principle force of the working class, the backbone for social wealth creation and innovation-driven development, and an effective force for implementing the strategy of building a manufacturing power. As a manufacturing powerhouse and the birthplace of China's modern industry and the place of origin for the working class, Shanghai should be at the forefront of the country in promoting coordinated development of industrial workers and the real economy.

In recent years, we have achieved remarkable improvement in the number, quality, structure, and rights & interest realization of industrial workers in Shanghai. According to the "Statistical Yearbook of Shanghai 2016", the number of employees working in the manufacturing sector in Shanghai had hit 3.51 million by the end of 2015. More than two million of them were industrial workers and the demand for skilled workers continued to grow, according to a survey by Shanghai Municipal Commission of Economy and Informatization. Additionally, in line with The 13th Five-Year Plan on Talents Development in Shanghai, among skilled workers, the proportion of high-skilled talents in Shanghai increased from 25.01% in 2010 to 30.17% at the end of 2015. In accordance with the Report on the Employment Situation of Manufacturing Enterprises in Shanghai, issued by the Shanghai Employment Promotion Center, among registered manufacturing employees in Shanghai those with a junior college degree accounted for roughly 23%, up 5.8 percentage points from five years ago, and showing an upward trend. In terms of income level, the average monthly salary of registered manufacturing employees in Shanghai was 5,816 yuan, up by 14.1% annually from 2012 and higher than the growth of GDP and the average wage of workers in the city in the same period.

At the same time, to consolidate and enhance the level of the real economy in Shanghai, the city needs to solve some problems it faces in developing its industrial workforce. First, in terms of the city’s overall industrial talent structure, the number of highly skilled industrial workers is insufficient; in addition, the manufacturing sector is faced with high labor cost and structural shortage of talents; start-ups have difficulty in recruiting staff. These problems are quite obvious. Second, manufacturing workers face serious age faults and lack of a stable source. At present, most of them are middle-aged workers, while workers in the 20-30 age group are apparently under-represented. Third, many of them cannot stay on a job for long enough and so enterprises suffer big pressure from staff turnover. Currently, most of the manufacturing workers are from outside Shanghai, and non-public enterprises have become the main employers of industrial workers. There is great pressure on enterprises to retain a steady workforce of key technical workers. Fourth, investment in education and training of industrial workers is inadequate; the career development road of industrial workers is not smooth; and industrial workers lack innovation ability, which is not up to the requirements of the real economy.

How to make Shanghai into a high-level city where industrial workers cluster

According to the new requirements of the 19th National Congress on building an educated, skilled, and innovative workforce, and the new tasks set out by the Central Committee of the CPC and the State Council on building the industrial worker workforce in the new era, Shanghai should adopt more effective measures to promote the development of industrial workers in its effort to push the real economy to a new height and implement ‘Made in China 2025’ Shanghai Action Plan".

First, further clarify the overall positioning of industrial workers development in the overall work. In the general framework of Party building, urban development, industrial development, and social progress, we must further clarify the overall positioning of building a new industrial worker workforce. We must speed up the effort to formulate relevant policies and plans for promoting the development of industrial workers and make systematic arrangements for the target, tasks, priorities, development paths, and safeguard measures for the construction and reform of industrial workers, so as to provide a firm and clear top-level guidance to, and strategic support for, the development of industrial workers. Shanghai shall be built into a new high-level gathering place of industrial workers with leading ideology, flexible development mechanism, fast growth, good overall environment, effective rights and interests protection, and high capability, fully demonstrating the strength and demeanor of Shanghai’s industrial workers in the new era.

Second, further improve the status of skilled industrial workers in the overall work of human resources. Under the guidance of the basic principles of personnel management by the CPC, and in line with the new vision of promoting the coordinated development of industrial talents, industries, and cities, it is necessary to; bring skilled industrial workers into the scope of industrial talent management; further gather the advantages of industrial talents, including skilled industrial workers; and strengthen the guiding and supporting role of industrial talents in the development of the real economy. Particular support must be given to science & engineering technology colleges and vocational technical institutes in cultivating and supplying the skilled workforce. Professional trade organizations and large-scale manufacturing enterprises must be guided and supported in fostering and training skilled industrial workers.

Third, further reform relevant policies and systems to promote the development of industrial workers. Relevant policies and systems must be reformed in such aspects as political status guarantee, ideological guidance, rights and interest protection, evaluation incentives, skill improvement, career development, and role development in Party building in enterprises, trade unions, human resources, and education and training, in a bid to stimulate the vitality of industrial workers. In addition, relevant policies governing apartments & rental housing for talents and staff quarters must be reformed so as to enhance the stability of industrial workers. In addition, resource input, financial guarantee, and the supply of public social resources to industrial workers must be increased to enhance their sense of gain and integration.

Fourth, further deepen trade union reform and give full play to the unique role of trade unions. In the construction and reform of trade unions in enterprises, in industrial zones and trade union federations, more efforts should be made to protect the legitimate rights and interests of industrial workers, enhance their capability and quality, improve relevant work mechanisms to ensure the rights and interests of workers, improve the political and advanced nature of trade unions, consolidate the mass base of trade unions, expand the influence and cohesion of trade union work, and further enhance the sense of gain and satisfaction of workers.

Fifth, further optimize comprehensive services for promoting the development of industrial workers. The information service platforms, education and training platforms and daily communication platforms for the development of industrial workers must be built, to guide the self-learning and improvement of industrial workers and realize benign flow. Professional social organizations related to the development of industrial workers must be guided and cultivated, and the service content must be enriched. Information technology must be well used, and a comprehensive service system for industrial workers must be built. Through the above measures, the coordinated development of industrial workers and the real economy in Shanghai will be realized, thus laying a solid human resources foundation for consolidating and upgrading the real economy and accelerating the construction of a scientific and technological innovation center with global influence.


(The author is a research fellow of Shanghai Academy and the chief expert of the industrial economy project)