Expert stresses importance of flexible employment and new business models
The central government must give priority to the role of flexible employment and new business models in stabilizing the job market this year, according to an expert.
A key focus last year for the State Council, China's Cabinet, was carrying out the "employment first" policy and ensuring that more than 11 million new urban jobs could be created. The target was met in the first 10 months of the year, with 11.9 million jobs realized.
At more than half its executive meetings last year, the Cabinet included employment on the agenda, and the employment first policy was elevated to the status of a macro policy for the first time in the Government Work Report.
Zhang Chenggang, a job market researcher at the Capital University of Economics and Business, said, "In the face of mounting downward pressure on the economy, reaching the (jobs) target earlier than schedule did not come easily."
Premier Li Keqiang has warned that the economy will face greater downward pressure this year.
Zhang said that as a result, pressure on the job market will not ease, especially for areas such as Northeast China and for key groups such as college graduates. The number of such graduates will reach 8.74 million this year, up by 400,000 year-on-year, according to the Ministry of Education.
"At micro level, it is important for the authorities to continue to encourage flexible employment and the growth of new business models," Zhang said.
On the macro policy level, it is important to ensure implementation of the employment first policy, and to establish an evaluation mechanism for the job market during the process of policy implementation, he added.
It is important to prevent government policies from having a "sweeping effect" on industries at local level, he said.
It will also be crucial to use policies such as tax cuts and improving the business environment to unleash corporate vitality, along with stepping up vocational skills training, Zhang said.
He noted that the State Council had introduced a series of new policies to stabilize the job market.
Some of these involve targeted reforms to end malpractices in the employment market. The measures include cancelling government certification of professional workers' qualifications, while other action is aimed at increasing jobs, including boosting growth of the platform economy, he said.
The government's decision to launch a vocational skills training initiative and allocate 100 billion yuan ($14.3 billion) from the surplus in unemployment insurance funds to provide training for some 15 million people to upgrade their skills or switch jobs or industries had also injected momentum into the employment market, he said.
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