Beijing: China is strengthening its social sector by offering about two million job opportunities, having observed the declining number of social workers in the country. As part of a government plan, two million qualified social workers will be employed on the mainland by the end of 2015, a Chinese newspaper quoted a ministry of civil affairs official as saying.  

According to Huang Shengwei, chief of the ministry's first social work division, China lacks the number of social workers it must have to meet the public's increasing needs.

“Currently, most social workers have not received professional training.”

To encourage people for this sector, the government intends to adopt payment guidelines and other motivation policies.  As per incomplete statistics from the ministry, there are about 200,000 social workers in the Chinese mainland. Of them, though, only about a quarter have passed the exams they must take to be licensed to do social work, the report said. 

Most social workers are concentrated in Beijing, Shanghai and other big cities, while vast rural expanses, especially those in the country's centre and west, are home to hardly anyone in that line of work, Huang said. 

Every year, 250 higher educational institutions in China witness about 10,000 students graduate with major in social work. 

In 2006, nearly 60 percent of them chose to work in other occupations, although fewer and fewer are making the same decision every year, Huang said, citing surveys conducted by the ministry of education. 

Many graduates, however, say that they decide to pursue different careers after noticing social workers' low incomes and lack of promotion opportunities for them.

“There is little chance to get promoted and you probably may work your whole life as a social worker without making much progress in your career,” 26-year-old Peng said.  The Central Government, recognising the difficulties social workers face, has decided to offer them assistance.

(Agencies)