Who Are China’s Technical Communicators? A Survey on the State of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion of the Profession

Lin Dong, Zhijun Gao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Purpose: This study updates our understanding of the group features of China’s technical communication coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic. Our research uncovers workplace inequities in the profession by identifying and analyzing a wide range of professional differences in knowledge, skills, experience, practice, performance, benefits, opportunities, challenges, and discoveries. It is more than just a diversity report. We seek to help academics and practitioners across the world develop a basic grasp of China’s technical communication, practitioners, and working conditions from a diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) perspective. Method: We designed a four-part survey with 50 questions to examine DEI variables in several areas such as demographics, professional activities, career development, and challenges and problems. A total of 259 technical communicators from a target population of about 1,200 responded to our questionnaire. Results: Diversity is an intrinsic feature of China’s technical communication because of its short history of professionalization. Practitioners’ educational backgrounds, language ability, job titles, affiliated departments, working activities and deliverables, and so on all exhibit diversity. Because of the lack of DEI initiatives, many participants reported structural inequalities in their career development. Conclusion: The DEI situation in the field of China’s technical communication is incarnated as a collective professional identity crisis in practitioners. This identity crisis has historical, societal, organizational, individual, and environmental reasons. To tackle it, we propose inclusive development as an effective DEI initiative.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)42-62
Number of pages21
JournalTechnical communication
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • China’s Technical Communicators
  • DEI Variables
  • Global Technical Communication
  • Professional Identity Crisis
  • NLA
  • n/a OA procedure


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