Senior people chat outside a community elderly care center at the Suzhou Industrial Park in Suzhou, Jiangsu Province in east China, on December 1(XINHUA)
Graduates entering the elderly care service industry will enjoy a 60,000 yuan ($9,144) reward, according to a recent document issued by the Beijing Municipal Government. It proposes to give young people financial support to attract more graduates to elderly care services. Pay is an important factor in choosing a career, and rewarding pay will attract graduates and inject more energy into the industry in the short term.
Elderly care services have seen increasing demand for talents in recent years. China is experiencing a significant demographic change. By 2022, people aged over 65 will make up 14 percent of the population. Nearly one tenth of them will be unable to perform basic functions like dressing, eating and bathing on their own. Also, 25.4 percent of aged people will require all-round care.
However, the supply of nursing care lags far behind the demand, with a widening talent gap. According to international standards, there should be one nurse per three disabled elderly. But there is a shortage of nearly 10 million nursing staff in China. A long-term plan, including promotion, incentive mechanisms and enhanced social respect, is necessary to address the shortage.
Today, only 40 percent of those who work in the industry stay there for over two years. Besides the low salary, many graduates lack an understanding of the industry, resulting in psychological gaps in professional skills, career identity and other aspects. This is another reason for the high turnover rate.
Graduates should learn skills at nursing institutions to form a realistic understanding of the industry. Given the high labor intensity and poor pay, a sense of accomplishment and professional identity is needed to foster long-term dedication to the industry.
This is an edited excerpt of an article originally published in Nanfang Daily on November 29
(Print Edition Title: Retaining Talents)