Chinese manufacturers scramble to find workers

2013-02-27  WRITER:  SOUCE:网络  

Chinese low-cost manufacturers are trying various ways to retain workers and attract new ones after the Lunar New Year holiday, as the country's economic recovery brings in more orders.

Factory workers, mostly rural migrants, usually go home for family reunions during the traditional holiday. But many take advantage of the break to find better jobs and therefore do not return to their former employers.

Companies have raised salaries or offered financial incentives in an attempt to retain workers.

"Although the whole industry is still mired in gloom, we still plan to raise the workers' salary by 10 percent this year," said Tian Chengjie, vice president of Silverman Holdings Ltd., a textile company in Zibo of eastern Shandong Province.

In a bid to get workers back, many companies reportedly chose to pay year-end bonuses after the holiday. Some promised to offer a reward of 1,000 yuan for each year of their service.

Amid efforts to recruit enough workers, some companies promised to reward staff hundreds of yuan if they brought along new workers. Some even offered hundreds of yuan to workers' parents.

However, for many employees higher pay is not enough.

Increasingly, migrants, especially the younger generation, demand respect and good working conditions.

Executives at Orans Co. Ltd., in Taizhou in the eastern coastal province of Zhejiang, lined up at its factory gates and bowed when staff returned to work Monday, the first day after the Lantern Festival.

The respect the executives showed won praise from netizens.

"This should not be seen as a mere show. You can only make fortunes by showing respect to the labor force," wrote a netizen under the name of "Yunjianwei" on Sina Weibo, a popular Twitter-like microblogging service.

Other netizens also called for better conditions rather than just higher pay or bonuses.

"A friend called me today saying only a low proportion of their workers had returned after the holiday and they also had difficulty in recruiting new ones," said a weibo user under the name of "Liang Yong."

"This does not come as a surprise if the employers do not show care towards the employees' life and psychological needs. Please do not see the workers as machines," "Liang Yong" added.

The labor shortage has attracted more media attention as the economic recovery looks like it will worsen the problem.

It comes as China's labor force between the age of 15 and 59 shrank by 3.5 million last year. It is the first time the country has recorded an absolute drop in the working-age population in "a considerable period of time," Ma Jiantang, National Bureau of Statistics director, said last month.

Hundreds of companies in Dongguan, dubbed "factory of the world" in the booming southern province of Guangdong, reportedly set up booths along a street to recruit workers Monday, but only a few migrants showed up and made inquires.

Many employees have chosen to work near their hometowns in the central and western regions as many companies have relocated there in response to the country's industrial restructuring in coastal areas.

Also many young migrants now do not wish to work for low-cost manufacturers where work conditions are not good even though they offer higher pay. For them, the routine work offers no excitement or career prospects.

Wan Zhong, president of Wanjia Shengshi Human Resources Co. Ltd., in Jinan, capital of Shandong said, "The labor shortage could prompt low-cost manufacturers to accelerate industrial restructuring and upgrading as well as offer workers better conditions."