China embraces niche jobs

Updated 2018-02-20 17:52:03 Xinhua

Xie Junying's profession pays her according to the size of a wardrobe. She is a wardrobe master.

Her daily routine is to reorganize customers' wardrobes, helping them throw away unsuitable clothes and give advice on their dressing style.

She used to work at a dry-cleaning company, but when delivering laundry realized many people had no idea how to keep their clothes tidy and well ordered.

To become a wardrobe master, Xie went to Chengdu, capital of southwest China's Sichuan Province for training and was taught of how to perfectly fold a T-shirt, sweater and trousers, and sort them by color, texture and season.

Most wardrobe masters are paid by the width of a closet -- 100 yuan (16 U.S. dollars) or more for each meter. The job is flexible, with no requirements or educational background needed.

Experienced wardrobe masters can be promoted as consultants and take charge of the training and certification of new practitioners.

The market turned much larger than Xie had imagined. Her company makes 300,000 yuan a year by cleaning out wardrobes for customers. She even became an online celebrity and obtained a role in a movie.

As society develops, jobs serving niche markets are on the rise in China. Sensitive job seekers and investors can quickly find the new change and grasp business opportunities.

While studying at the Beijing Language and Culture University, Sun Zan took sign language as an elective course, believing it would broaden her career possibilities as more services are needed for the hearing-impaired in China.

About 30 million people suffer from hearing loss in China, according to the World Health Organization. They need interpreters to see a doctor, consult lawyers and run errands.

"Sign language interpretation is a very promising job," Sun said.

The silver-haired generation are also finding new life in a new era. In January, Taobao, China's biggest online marketplace, said it was looking for elderly user-experience specialists. The specialists were said to be responsible for the testing and market survey of products designed for older consumers. The annual salary was up to 400,000 yuan.

Taobao said the applicant should be over 60 years old, have many elderly friends and at least one year experience in online shopping. "Active members in square dancing and local residential committees are preferred," the job advertisement said.

The company hired 10 people from more than 3,000 applicants.

The flourishing of new jobs has helped ease employment pressure in recent years, according to the China Association of Employment Promotion. "But these jobs also pose threats as practitioners lack social security and stable income and may lose jobs quickly once the market changes," it said.

"Gaming masters" that help clients upgrade to higher levels of online games have been criticized, and other jobs such as "expressway guides" -- referring people who lead the way for drivers at expressway exits -- have died out with the expansion of the 4G network.

"A new need in society, a new technological breakthrough and a change in economic structure can all give birth to new jobs," said Zheng Lanxiang, professor at Anhui University. "The labor department should be sensitive to these new changes and carry out training to help people take advantage of the new opportunities."

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