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November 2, 2011

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Domestic helpers' pay soars

DOMESTIC helpers in Shanghai are enjoying a bigger pay raise than workers in other sectors, even more than new college graduates, mainly due to a shortage of supply.

Industry insiders said domestic helpers, better known in the city as ayis, received an average pay raise of up to 20 percent, compared with the wage increase guideline of 13 percent issued by the city's labor authority.

Maternity maids - mostly middle-aged women experienced in maternity and infant care - can earn about 6,000 yuan (US$944) a month. Some professional workers with national skill certificates receive 7,000 to 8,000 yuan a month because of rising demand resulting from a continuing baby boom.

That is much higher than the average salaries for new graduates. Local university graduates' salaries were 3,135 yuan this year, about 10 percent higher than the previous year, according to a study released by Bridge HR, a human resources company based in Lujiazui.

Chen Xizhu, director of the Shanghai Household Service Association, said: "It is not strange that ayis earn more than university graduates with the rising demand for skilled domestic workers and the decline in the supply of ayis.

The supply has shrunk in recent years because of rising pay and better conditions in other cities and provinces.

Most ayis in the city come from the neighboring provinces of Jiangsu, Zhejiang and Anhui, where the number of job opportunities has now increased.

Many ayis now prefer to work in their hometown to be closer to their children and family.

An ayi's hourly salary has risen to 15 to 20 yuan this year, compared with 10 to 15 yuan last year, according to Li Rong, director of Shanghai-based Laibang Home Service.

However, Chen said some employers were offering wages at too high a level because they had little idea of the market price.

Chen advised employers to pay attention to the guideline ayi salary released by the association.


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