China's People's Liberation Army (PLA) has launched online applications to officers' positions on Friday, marking the first time to recruit graduates from non-military universities across the country in 2020, which experts believe will fill the talent gap.
The recruitment for non-commissioned officers will be synchronized with voluntary enrollment in the second half of the year, which will be from August 1 to September 30.
Su Hainan, a research fellow at the China Association for Labor Studies, told the Global Times that measures are taken from different levels to deal with the employment pressure against the backdrop of coronavirus epidemic this year.
More importantly, the PLA needs more well-educated talents to help realize its transformation into information operation, Su stressed.
Targeting non-military college graduates, the notification stipulates that the positions should match the applicants' majors, and college graduates will get the priority.
Yang Yucai, a professor at the PLA National Defense University, noted that previously university graduates, after enrollment, needed to start from solider-level before being promoted to officer ranks; however, now the starting level is raised, which reflects an improvement in the demand for talent in the army.
"Noncommissioned officers are backbones of the army; their education background and leadership will help empower our army," Su said.
In addition, college graduates might find the positions more friendly to their own career path, without worrying that their majors might not be relevant to positions; the two-way choices would be beneficial to both individuals and the army, Yang said.
The noncommissioned officers will be entitled to a salary system and a regular adjustment option.
College students who meet the funding requirements, when they enlist in the army, will be compensated with the one-time reimbursement of the tuition paid during the school or the national student loan, according to the notification.
The funding policy will cover either the tuition fee or the national student loan; the higher amount of the actual tuition fee will be paid. The maximum reimbursement of the college students will not exceed 8,000 yuan ($1,126) per year per student, with a maximum of 12,000 yuan for each postgraduate student each year.
Yang said that the funding policy would help the students' families reduce education cost, and the salary system will also help the recruits to support their families.
"By doing so, positions in the army will be more attractive to graduates," Yang said.