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China's new jobs boom fueled by tech and personalization

China Daily | Updated: 2024-05-06 09:32
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With the rapid development of digital technologies and the broadening of labor categories, China has seen the emergence of a large number of fresh professions in recent years.

Various new occupations have enriched employment options. A national classification of occupations released in 2022 showed that there were 1,639 identified occupations in China, 158 more than in 2015, and 6 percent of which were related to digital technology.

Chinese youth are ambitiously tapping into these emerging professions, ranging from AI architect and machine learning engineer to homestay housekeeper and pet nurse, especially given the intense competition in the job market.

With cursor flashing and lines of code typed in, skyscrapers and picturesque landscapes seen in reality are represented on the screen of a virtual architect surnamed Wang.

Virtual architect, a profession using AI algorithms to build a world in virtual space, is a new occupation often linked to the games industry. It is dedicated to providing immersive experiences for gamers, moviegoers and virtual reality users.

Wang, who majored in gaming and entertainment art as an undergraduate, is a newcomer in this field, but is very confident about the prospects of his job. "This technology has vast potential, and I can use it to represent the whole world."

Virtual architects can also construct various scenarios online in catering to customer demands, such as 3D meeting rooms, online press conferences, online exhibitions and virtual museums.

Wang said he hopes more people will join him in transforming the imagination of the virtual world into productive forces in reality.

Like virtual architect, other new occupations exploiting digital technologies are gaining increasing popularity, especially among young job hunters, due to the flexibility and promising prospects.

Data revealed that occupations in the field of emerging high-tech had attracted increasing numbers of graduates in 2023, with intelligent manufacturing, AI-generated content and AI large model options being dominant in this regard.

"The digital industry fits well with young people's interests and personal pursuits, thus offering more vacancies that match their employment expectations," said Chen Yun, director of the employment and entrepreneurial research office of the Chinese Academy of Labor and Social Security.

In recent years, a myriad of service occupations aiming to satisfy people's personalized demands have emerged, including services such as decluttering, door-to-door cooking and dog-walking.

For instance, with the law on family education promotion taking effect, the new occupation of family education tutor has been added to the national classification of professions. Observers predict that this new form of work will create more than 1 million jobs once the industrial standard is set.

In addition, observers also reminded young people that such new jobs come with higher demands for interdisciplinary savvy and skills.

Fast-evolving new technologies are pushing Chinese youth to enhance their professional capabilities, thereby ensuring that they are qualified to effectively participate in the new job market.

A report jointly released by the National School of Development of Peking University and the Zhaopin platform in July 2023 revealed that China's labor market had not fully adapted to AI technology, while some white-collar occupations, such as marketing, finance and secretarial work, had borne the brunt of this.

"Stable employment does not mean working the same job for life, but instead means being able to keep pace with the times and continuously take opportunities," said Chen.


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