Worker shortage spreads to China's underdeveloped western regions

18:36, October 26, 2010      

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The labor shortage that began haunting China's coastal cities last year has spread to China's underdeveloped western regions.

Ye Weiqing, deputy manager at a hotel in northwest China's Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, said his hotel has raised wages twice over the last year but still has difficulty finding enough employees.

The Shahu Hotel in Ningxia's capital Yinchuan suffered a severe worker shortage after more than 130 waiters and waitresses resigned last year, Ye said.

The hotel needs about 300 employees to ensure normal operation, he said. "We provide food and lodging for free and buy medical insurance for all staff."

The hotel's managers are planning another pay rise that will bring the minimum salary to 1,100 yuan (164 U.S. dollars) per month for even inexperienced workers.

That wage is already close to what many small- and medium-sized businesses in China's coastal regions offer. In Yiwu, a manufacturing town in the developed Zhejiang Province, the minimum wage for migrant workers is 1,200 yuan a month, according to the local labor bureau.

Shahu Hotel is not the only employer trying to woo employees with higher wages and better compensation packages. Recruitment ads promising high wages are often stuck to store and restaurant windows on the streets of Yinchuan and other cities in the northwestern provinces of Gansu and Shaanxi.

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