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Educated labor force Updated: 2021-06-03
A technician conducts cell culture experiments at an I-Mab research and development center in Shanghai. [Photo provided to China Daily]

Adequate labor force

According to China's 7th national census released on May 11, 2021, the Chinese mainland has a registered population of 1.41 billion, with an annual growth rate of 0.53 percent in the past decade. The country's working-age population, aged between 16 and 59 years old, was as large as 880 million in 2020, accounting for 62.4 percent of the nation's total population and providing a key foundation for economic development. The country's population is still "young and vibrant" with an average age of 38.8.

High-quality workforce

According to the press conference of the State Council on May 11, 2021, the average number of years of schooling among the working-age (16-59) population is up to 10.75 years from 9.67 years in 2010. And the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security says that average years of education of China's new labor force now exceeds 13.7 years, which is equivalent to the first year of college.

The Seventh National Population Census says that there were 218.36 million persons with a university education. Compared with 2010, the number of people with a university education went up from 8,930 persons to 15,467 persons per 100,000 persons, and the average years of schooling for people aged 15 and above increased from 9.08 years to 9.91 years. In 2021, China is expected to see a record 9.09 million college graduates.

China has continuously invested in the development of professional technical human resources and the training of high-skilled talents, supplying enterprises with a sufficient number of high-quality talents. As of April 2021, China was home to 30.88 million students acquiring skills in 11,300 vocational education institutions, according to statistics from the Ministry of Education.

Research and innovation capabilities

China ranked 14th among 131 economies in the 2020 edition of the Global Innovation Index, released by the World Intellectual Property Organization, and was the only middle-income economy in the top 30.

China's spending on research and development climbed 10.3 percent to 2.44 trillion yuan ($378 billion) in 2020, accounting for 2.4 percent of China's gross domestic product, according to the nation's National Bureau of Statistics.

According to the Research Report on the Development of Technology Human Resources in China – Population, Structure, and Flow of Researchers released by the China Association for Science and Technology, by the end of 2018, the total number of people working in science and technology in China had reached 101.55 million, the largest number in the world.

In 2020, China authorized 530,000 invention patents, which was 15.8 patents for every 10,000 people, according to the National Intellectual Property Administration (NIPA). The industrialization rate of China's patents for valid inventions was 34.7 percent.