• Digital economy as an development target has been written into the Government Work Report of the State Council for four consecutive years. The latest report delivered Premier Li Keqiang on 22 May 2020 highlighted “advancing Internet Plus initiatives across industries and creating new competitive edges in digital economy” & “promoting the development of industrial internet and smart manufacturing”.
• Aligned with the national strategy of “Internet Plus” and “smart manufacturing”, traditional corporates, apart from internet companies, are also embracing the digital economy, seeking for transformation. The 2020 COVID-19 pandemic, in particular, is catalyzing and accelerating the scale-up of digital economy.
• The new digital-economy technologies represented by “ABC”, namely Artificial Intelligence, Big Data and Cloud Computing, have brought huge impact on existing business models in multiple ways, and are continuously pushing the transformation of design industry.
• Recruitment data and employee survey we collected and analyzed indicate that emerging internet design has become the mainstream, and the user experience industry is closely following the national strategy and embracing the trend of digital economy.
1.0 Overall Talent Demand
• The development of digital economy has propelled the Internet Plus initiative, which was particularly accelerated this year by the COVID-19 pandemic. As such, both the job market data of design posts and user experience employees survey have indicated that emerging internet design is becoming a mainstream.
• As design-related positions have increasingly extended responsibilities, companies in tier-1 cities as well as in new tier-1 cities are putting increasing value in design positions, as salaries for design posts in both tiers are rising.
2.0 Corporate Demand for Design Talent & Status Quo
• The Covid-19 pandemic has sped up the polarization of design talent demand among companies. Though the overall volume of design-related posts have seen a YOY decline of 7.9%, the design talent demand of the Top 500 Companies has improved , particularly in demand for emerging internet design talent with higher ability requirement.
• The responsibility of many design jobs have extended from only focusing on the product development stage to all-stage & full-process design that requires more
• comprehensive and diversified skills and talents.
• Design is playing an increasingly important role in user experience.
• Corporations put more emphasis on various user experience related indicators, among which “user attitude” and “experience design quality” are having greater weights in the KPI of many product teams.
3.0 Design Talent & Employees Status Quo
• This year’s pandemic is catalyzing the growth of digital economy, not only in the internet companies with relatively stable UX culture and structure, but also in digital life and other new digital technology fields. UX talents are also expanding their footprints into companies in new tier-1, tier-2, and even tier-3 cities.
• The major pain points for designers’ development are lack of working environment support and limitation in career development. They yearn for more training and learning opportunities.
• This year, the global economy is teeming with uncertainties because of the pandemic. As such, designers are more inclined to stability, and a major proportion of them do not plan a switch, whose proportion is highest in the recent 6 years. Big tech companies such as Tencent, Alibaba, Huawei, Apple, ByteDance, etc. are the most desired destination.
4.0 Design Education (Talent Supply Side）
• China is a big nation in design education, but not strong enough. The new digital-economy technologies represented by “ABC” are pushing forward the crossover design education, which requires shifting from pure artistic design to cross-discipline development. This trend has also been embracing by college education.
• Design is an applied discipline, so design education naturally requires integration of industry, academia, and research. University students are expected to grow both in knowledge and experience and unlock more capabilities in real projects, in order to meet the market demand.
The English version of this report was translated by Southern University of Science and Technology.
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