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February 12, 2014

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Local firms struggle to hire migrant workers

Local companies in the city are struggling with labor shortage and rising costs as migrant workers are pushing for a raise  in their salaries after the Spring Festival holiday.

About 150 job fairs targeting migrant workers will be held across the city from this week till March 16 to meet the needs of local companies, said the Shanghai Human Resources and Social Security Bureau.

At a job fair in Jiading District yesterday, some manufacturing companies extended the age limit for assembly workers while other companies promised to double the salaries.

“Getting workers for production lines are the most difficult to recruit,” said a human resource specialist for Singapore-based MIT (Shanghai) Co Ltd, which relaxed the age requirement for line workers from 35 to 45 years. “Younger workers are unwilling to work on production lines because they think the pay is low and the working hours are too long,” the HR specialist said.

While companies are desperate, migrant job seekers themselves are quite calm.

Lin Kui, 19, is looking for a position with a monthly salary of 4,000 yuan (US$660). Lin said he would stick to the figure till March.

“The recruitment process has just started. I think some companies will finally make compromises and come up with better offers as they will need workers,” Lin said.

Usually, an unskilled migrant worker earns a monthly salary of 3,000 yuan. Lin did not have any specialty but he was hopeful of higher pay because of labor shortage in the city.

In Jiading District alone, more than 8,000 positions have to be filled up at manufacturing companies, according to a survey conducted by the Jiading District Migrant Worker Employment Management Center.

Zhu Huamin, the center’s director, told Shanghai Daily that the demand was high due to the high turnover of workers and growth of the logistics industry. An e-commerce company plans to recruit 500 workers for its storage houses as more people are shopping online, Zhu said.

In recent year, the origins of migrant workers have also shifted from neighboring cities  in Zhejiang, Jiangsu and Anhui provinces to far off areas like Qinghai, Sichuan, Hebei and Gansu provinces.


“There is a backflow of migrant workers from neighboring cities as the areas are enjoying rapid development offering more job opportunities with remarkable salaries,” Zhu said.

Companies compared the job fair to a “buyer’s market” where migrant workers have a larger say in deciding their jobs. The labor shortage for companies ranged from 10 to 50 percent.

Many companies said they prefer women applicants as they are more loyal than men and far steadier at work. Apart from salaries, migrant workers are taking working environment, accommodation and other benefits into consideration when choosing their employer.

The Shanghai Human Resource and Social Security Bureau said it will focus on professional training of migrant workers this year to meet the needs of companies.

Employers said it is hard to find skilled workers whose starting salary can be as high as 7,000 yuan.

“Young migrant workers must pick up more skills if they want that kind of money to seek a better living condition in Shanghai,” Zhu said.



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