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August 27, 2009

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Skilled workers in short supply

AS the economy continues to make steady recovery, many employers and factories in the city are receiving increased business orders.

Restaurant trade is also sharply improving.

This is obviously good news but the bad news is a shortage of skilled workers.

After requests from many city employers, the Shanghai Restaurants' Association has sent recruiters to provincial areas to find skilled workers.

"We hope that they can bring back more than 300 workers for our restaurants," said Duan Fugen, general secretary of the association.

"In the past, recruitment advertising would have attracted many applicants but that is not the case now," Duan said. "The lack of skilled staff affects service quality."

Employers in the garment, food processing and digital product industries are encountering similar problems.

"In a bid for job security, many skilled workers signed long-time contracts with some factories during the economic downturn," said Vicky Tang, from a city garment-processing factory.

Some factories even promise a basic salary for blue-collar workers even if no orders are received.

"This practice started in June," said Huang Shunguo, from the Shijiayi Job Agency in Shanghai.

There are about 10 to 20 job seekers turning up at the agency daily, but the number was 30 or more at the same time last year.

Many migrant workers went home during the economic crisis early this year when employers slashed jobs.

Ren Yuan, a sociology professor from Fudan University, said employers should change their mind set of hiring short-term workers.

"If they provide long-term training and stable conditions, more migrant workers will be attracted," Ren said.


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